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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 May;13(5):765-70.

Physical activity and risk of ovarian cancer: a prospective cohort study in the United States.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Department of Health and Human Services, 6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS-MSC 7232, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Increased physical activity may lower the risk of ovarian cancer by reducing the frequency of ovulation, decreasing body fat, or diminishing chronic inflammation. Previous epidemiological studies examining the association between physical activity and risk of ovarian cancer have been inconsistent. We investigated the association of physical activity with ovarian cancer in a prospective cohort of 27,365 individuals from the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project. During 227,045 person-years of follow-up, 121 cases of ovarian cancer were ascertained. Usual physical activity during the past year was assessed by a self-administered questionnaire. After adjusting for potential risk factors for ovarian cancer, the relative risks (95% confidence intervals) across increasing quintiles of total physical activity were 1.0, 0.73 (0.43-1.25), 0.84 (0.50-1.40), 0.56 (0.31-1.00), and 0.70 (0.41-1.21), respectively (P for trend = 0.13). In this prospective cohort study among U.S. women, we found no overall significant association between physical activity and risk of ovarian cancer, although the results are suggestive of an inverse association.

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