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Obesity, Inactivity Reduce Colorectal Cancer Survival

Ideal body weight, regular exercise could cut colorectal cancer incidence and mortality

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) who carry excess fat around the midriff and who do not engage in regular physical activity are less likely than other patients to survive the disease, according to a study in the January issue of Gut.

Andrew M. Haydon, M.D., of the Monash Medical School in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data on 526 patients with CRC recruited from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study of 41,528 Australians from 1990 to 1994. Eligible participants were diagnosed with their first CRC between recruitment and August 2002.

The median follow-up was 5.5 years, and in that time there were 208 deaths, 181 of them due to CRC. Those who exercised had a 71% overall survival rate after five years compared to 57% for non-exercisers. In terms of disease-specific survival, the rates were 73% and 61% for exercisers and non-exercisers, respectively. While body mass index was not associated with outcome, waist circumference was, with better outcomes for those with a trimmer waist circumference.

"Although the precise mechanisms are unknown, should the veracity of these observations be confirmed, maintenance of ideal body weight and promotion of physical activity could form the basis of interventions to reduce not only the incidence of CRC but also mortality," the authors conclude.

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