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Physical exercise may reduce risk of prostate cancer

Study finds reduced risk of prostate cancer among men with a specific DNA variation

Study finds reduced risk of prostate cancer among men with a DNA variation that makes them more likely to be active

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Men who keep physically active could cut their risk of prostate cancer by half, research suggests.

Researchers said exercise, which can include gardening or walking, has a larger protective effect than had been thought.

A team funded by the World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK measured physical activity among 79,148 men with prostate cancer and 61,106 without.

The researchers studied the effect of 22 risk factors, including physical activity, on prostate cancer, and found that men with a variation in their DNA sequence that makes them more likely to be active have a 51% reduced risk of prostate cancer than people without the variation.

Effect of genes on prostate cancer risk is small

Senior author of the research Sarah Lewis, senior lecturer in genetic epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, said that although the study looked at particular genes relating to exercise, the effect of the genes themselves on prostate cancer risk is small.

She added: ‘This suggests physical activity could have a larger effect on prostate cancer than previously thought, which will hopefully encourage men to be more active.’

Dr Lewis said the study used a relatively new method that complemented current observational research to identify the causes of prostate cancer.


Kazmi N, Haycock P, Tsilidis K et al (2019) Appraising causal relationships of dietary, nutritional and physical-activity exposures with overall and aggressive prostate cancer: two-sample Mendelian-randomization study based on 79148 prostate-cancer cases and 61106 controls. International Journal of Epidemiology.

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