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Moderate Exercise Prevents Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian cancer is difficult to beat, so prevention is extremely important. A Canadian study in the International Journal of Cancer, has found that moderate recreational and work-related physical activity may reduce a woman's risk of this disease.
Researchers studied the relationship between exercise and the development of ovarian cancer in over 2,500 participants who filled out self-administered questionnaires. The results showed that high levels of moderate recreational activity were correlated with a decrease in the risk of ovarian cancer. Women who held jobs that required moderate or strenuous activity also had a decreased risk. Interestingly, there was no decrease in risk for women who participated in vigorous physical activity. The study also broke down the disease by tumor type and found that moderate exercise reduced the incidence of certain types of ovarian tumors but not others.

Researchers speculate that physical activity may prevent ovarian cancer by regulating hormone and growth factor levels, enhancing the immune system, improving the antioxidant defense system, and by reducing obesity, which increases ovarian cancer risk. They hypothesize that vigorous activity did not decrease cancer risk because too much strenuous exercise may cause immune suppression and in extreme cases, could cause an increase of free radicals and other cellular disturbances, thereby canceling out the protective effects of exercise.

Action Sparked
Regular exercise can work wonders for your physical and mental health, helping to prevent many diseases. A sedentary lifestyle does just the opposite. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. Walking, cycling, and swimming are all considered moderate exercise. This is just one study involving many confounding factors, and it is not a reason to scale back your workout routine if it happens to be more intense. If you’re concerned that you may be overdoing it, learn about the signs of overtraining and talk with your doctor to confirm that your exercise routine is safe for you.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • ETHELMERZ
    That headline is misleading, if you read the article, the headline does not tell it exactly true.............
    .......not good. - 8/12/2014 4:05:38 PM
  • It is nice to see some information about Cancer. I have ovarian cancer and I have to lose a lot of weight from the medication and steriods. I now have a fitbit and really need motivation to get moving. I still have a lot of discomfort from the chemo and radiation, but I have to open my eyes and smarten up. I have to lose at least 100 pounds and start living again. Hopefully it doesn't come back again. - 2/26/2013 8:47:20 AM
  • I didn't have ovarian cancer, I have uterine cancer which was directly caused by my obesity. I know first hand that weight loss (perhaps not necessarily exercise) would have prevented my cancer. Unfortunately, my obesity also prevented them from diagnosing it, so by the time they realized I was not exaggerating the amount of pain, it had spread into my lymph system. I'm in the second phase of radiation treatment right now - nearly an entire year of chemo and two types of radiation. My ovaries were healthy, but the size and aggressiveness of the tumors and invasion rate caused them to take my ovaries during surgery. I'm only 33. I have no kids and I never will be able to. Some people think that it's beating yourself up to state the truth about my weight causing my cancer, but I think it's stupid to avoid the fact. I want people to know, because I didn't. - 1/27/2013 8:24:16 PM
  • CAREN2LEE
    Really exercise prevent cancer. It's surprising. I am also doing research work on cancer. In fact I had contributed article for www.cancer8.com. I know exercise help to give you strength and motivate you to fight from cancer. but it prevent, it's great. - 8/22/2012 8:28:00 AM
  • I've known a few women who have had ovarian cancer. One is very active and is in early stages. One used to walk at lease 5 or miles a day. She did not win her battle. Another one was in my water exercise class three days a week and walked before class. She is currently in remission. These three ladies were very active. Maybe Canadians are tougher than us Americans...who knows. - 6/19/2012 8:26:02 PM
  • The headline is a bit misleading. Sure, exercise is good for many reasons, but since we don't really know what causes cancer we don't really know how to prevent it. There are lifestyle factors that we can control, some factors that we can't, and some that we could control as a society if there were the political/collect
    ive will to do it. - 11/2/2010 8:11:09 AM
  • My grandma had ovarian cancer when I was in my young teens (so she may have been in her 50s). I remember staying with her to help around the house during the summer when she was undergoing treatment. She always stayed upbeat and its a time I treasure that I got to spend with her. She beat that cancer for quite some time before she neared 80 and was overtaken by cancer once again. I am ever vigilant about my health due to family history, now I have even more evidence that living healthy will pay off in more benefits and hopefully keep my risk factors down. - 3/10/2010 10:30:17 AM
  • AUDREYM82
    Thank you for the article! As a young ovarian cancer survivor, I know that diet and exercise is very important in order to try to prevent and protect yourself from this disease. This is truly motivational and inspiring! - 10/15/2009 1:14:49 PM
  • LYLASMOO
    Thank you. My mother also died of ovarian cancer. I hope that this increases the awareness of this horrible disease. I would love to see major research done in the area of this cancer and maybe someday there would be some hope for a cure... - 1/13/2009 11:15:13 PM
  • Thanks so much for writing this article! I'm from an ovarian cancer family and hadnt seen this yet. This gives me one more reason to hit the gym. :) - 12/30/2008 9:27:39 AM
  • Great article. - 6/17/2008 11:12:44 AM
  • My mom died of ovarian cancer before her 43rd birthday, making me high risk. I've talked to various doctors over the years about reducing my risk, and have never been told that moderate exercise would help. Luckily I was motivated to start exercising a few years ago and dropped my BMI from an obese 32 to a healthy 23...here's another reason to keep up the hard work! - 4/10/2008 4:31:29 PM
  • Everything is better if we exercise. It is amazing how hard we fight it and yet, it is the best the thing we can do for ourselves in so many ways. What a motivation. - 2/1/2008 3:02:16 PM
  • CHAR3862
    People just do not realize how much exercise can change your life. With a little effort you can get good results. - 11/30/2007 8:49:35 AM
Popular Calories Burned Searches: Water aerobics  |  Stationary, exercise or recumbent bike: moderate ( < 12 mph)  |  Stationary, exercise or recumbent bike: vigorous (> 15 mph)

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