A new study led by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute establishes a connection between a sedentary lifestyle and risk of developing kidney or bladder cancer. The findings extend a line of inquiry that has already revealed a connection between chronic inactivity and heightened risk for both ovarian and cervical cancer, and also highlight the possibility of reducing risk for some cancers by increasing physical activity.
The new research, published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, details the findings of a hospital-based case-control study involving 160 patients with renal (kidney) cancer, 208 with bladder cancer and a control group of 766 people of the same ages who did not have cancer. A team led by Kirsten Moysich, PhD, MS, and Rikki Cannioto, PhD, EdD, MS, surveyed the participants in order to determine whether lifetime recreational physical inactivity was associated with risk of developing renal or bladder cancer.
Using multivariable logistic regression analysis, the team observed significant positive associations between lifetime recreational physical inactivity and cancer — 77% increased risk of developing renal cancer and 73% increased risk of developing bladder cancer. They found similar risk exposure among both obese and non-obese study participants, suggesting that the connection between inactivity and these cancers is not driven by obesity.
The data add to the growing body of evidence that physical inactivity may be an important and independent risk factor for cancer, the authors write, noting that larger studies are needed to substantiate the current findings and support conclusive determinations about these connections.
“We hope that findings like ours will motivate inactive people to engage in some form of physical activity,” says Dr. Moysich, senior author on the study and Distinguished Professor of Oncology in the Departments of Cancer Prevention and Control and Immunology at Roswell Park. “You don’t have to run marathons to reduce your cancer risk, but you have to do something — even small adjustments like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking around the block a couple of times on your lunch hour or parking the car far away from the store when you go to the supermarket.”
“Our findings underscore how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including getting and staying active,” adds Dr. Cannioto, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park and first author on the new study. “The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes each week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity as a way to generate significant, lasting health benefits.”