BY STEVEN REINBERG
Exercise has countless benefits, even in small doses. And new research suggests the payoffs might extend to colon cancer patients. Short sessions of intense exercise may slow the growth of colon cancer, Australian researchers report. “We have shown that exercise may play a role in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells,” said lead author James Devin, from the University of Queensland.
The report was published Feb. 27 in the Journal of Physiology.
“After an acute bout of high intensity exercise, there were specific increases in inflammation immediately after exercise, which are hypothesized to be involved in reducing the number of cancer cells,” Devin said in a journal news release.
Devin and his colleagues at the University of Queensland worked with researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.
The team took blood samples from 10 colon cancer survivors who had one session of intense exercise, and 10 survivors who had 12 exercise sessions over four weeks.
Analyzing the samples for the growth of cancer cells, the researchers found that even one session of high intensity exercise appeared to reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. These short exercise bouts are as important as longer regular exercise, they said.
The findings also suggest that continued exercise may aid in the “fight against cancer.” Moreover, they highlight the importance of regular exercise and leading a physically active life, Devin and his team added.
However, the study can’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Also, the researchers noted that their method of studying cancer cell growth in the laboratory may not apply to tumors growing in the human body. They said further research is needed.