Physical Activity Before and After Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer

  • David J. Harriss
  • N. Tim Cable
  • Keith George
  • Thomas Reilly
  • Andrew G. Renehan
  • Najib Haboubi


Physical inactivity is responsible for 13–14% of colon cancer, an attributable risk greater than family history. Epidemiological evidence shows that PA is protective against colon cancer but is inconclusive as to whether it is protective of rectal cancer or has equal effects on male and female risk of colorectal cancer. The effect of exercise interventions on the risk of colorectal cancer is currently not known; however, the results of a recently published 12-month training programme are encouraging. Although inferences can be made from epidemiological studies, no optimal exercise regimen can be confidently prescribed for protection against colorectal cancer. The limited available evidence demonstrates potential benefits of being physically active before diagnosis of colorectal cancer for disease-specific survival and prognosis. Studies undertaken on survivors of colorectal cancer provide the basis for future research which should be designed to more directly investigate the effect of exercise interventions on clinical outcome measures. Markers/mechanisms by which the impact of PA may be measured include GTT, chronic inflammation, immune function, insulin levels, IGF, genetics and obesity. Research studies have been proposed to help assess whether these markers are beneficially affected by PA, either before or after diagnosis of colorectal cancer. This chapter reviews our current understanding of the significant impact of PA on the risk of, and survival from, colorectal cancer and provides directions for future research which will underpin future health care policies and practices.


Colorectal Cancer Rectal Cancer Exercise Training Resistance Training Cardiorespiratory Fitness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This manuscript was supported by a grant from by Trafford General Hospital NHS Trust. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Harriss
    • 1
  • N. Tim Cable
    • 1
  • Keith George
    • 1
  • Thomas Reilly
    • 1
  • Andrew G. Renehan
    • 2
  • Najib Haboubi
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Departments of SurgeryChristie Hospital NHS TrustManchesterUK
  3. 3.Department of PathologyTrafford General Hospital NHS TrustManchesterUK

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