MAY 30, 2017 02:02 PM PDT

Chronic Inactivity Makes Bladder, Kidney Cancer More Likely


A sedentary lifestyle is fraught with health risks. And among them could be increased risks for bladder and kidney cancers, a study reveals.

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For decades, doctors have juxtaposed the benefits of an active lifestyle versus the detriments of being a couch potato. In fact, the health effects of being sedentary, in the form of too much sitting or drinking, was recently likened to smoking and drinking. Of note, a sedentary lifestyle is defined as sitting for more than seven hours a day.

Given the bad rep associated with chronic inactivity, researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, decided to investigate the effects of this on bladder and kidney cancers. They analyzed data from 160 patients with kidney cancer, 208 with bladder cancer, and compared the data to 766 patients who were healthy. Participants answered questionnaires regarding their physical activity levels. “Physically inactive” people were those who never took part in recreational physical activity throughout the course of their lives. The team then calculated the odds of cancer development based on the data.

They found that physical inactivity contributed to a whopping 77 percent increase in kidney cancer risks. The increased risk for bladder cancer was as dramatic, coming in at 73 percent for those who were chronically inactive.

The results show "evidence of a positive association between renal and bladder cancer with lifetime recreational physical inactivity,” the authors wrote in their study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

The risk appeared to be independent of obesity, as sedentary people with normal and high BMI had similar risks for bladder and kidney cancer.

"[The] findings underscore how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including getting and staying active. 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,” said Dr. Rikki Cannioto, assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park, and the study’s lead author.

Indeed, the results suggest the risks for these cancers may be mitigated by engaging in more physical activity, which do not have to be elaborate or intensive. "We hope that findings like ours will motivate inactive people to engage in some form of physical activity. 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,” said Dr. Kirsten Moysich, the study’s senior author.

Additional source: MNT


About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at
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