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AACR: Daily Exercise May Cut Colon Cancer in Men

Higher apoptosis seen in colon crypt cells of vigorous male exercisers

THURSDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Exercising six days a week can reduce the risk of colon cancer in men, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Meeting in Boston.

Kristin Campbell, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues randomized 101 men and 98 women to either daily exercise or to maintain their usual non-active lifestyle for one year while measuring apoptotic changes in colon crypt cells.

The investigators found that males reporting exercise for an hour a day, six days a week, had higher levels of the pro-apoptotic protein bax in crypt cells of their colon compared with non-exercisers. Precancerous polyps usually arise after hyperproliferation of lower crypt cells. Smaller changes were seen in men who exercised less.

"No change was seen in women, a finding that is consistent with our previous findings of altered proliferation in men, but not women," Campbell noted in a prepared statement. "Therefore, physical activity may play a stronger role in colon cancer risk reduction among men than it does among women."

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