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Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Apr 15;163(8):709-16. Epub 2006 Feb 22.

Recreational physical activity and sedentary behavior in relation to ovarian cancer risk in a large cohort of US women.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA 30329-4251, USA.


Factors that influence circulating sex hormones, such as physical activity, have been proposed to influence ovarian cancer risk; however, results from previous epidemiologic studies have been inconsistent. The authors examined the association among physical activity, sedentary behavior, and ovarian cancer risk in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, a prospective study of cancer incidence and mortality, using information obtained at baseline in 1992. From 1992 to 2001, 314 incident ovarian cancer cases were identified among 59,695 postmenopausal women who were cancer free at enrollment. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to compute hazard rate ratios while adjusting for potential confounders. No overall association was observed between measures of past physical activity or with recreational physical activity at baseline and risk of ovarian cancer in this study (for the highest category of physical activity compared with none: hazard rate ratio = 0.73, 95% confidence interval: 0.40, 1.34). However, a prolonged duration of sedentary behavior was associated with an increased risk (for > or = 6 vs. < 3 hours per day: hazard rate ratio = 1.55, 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 2.22; p(trend) = 0.01). Results from this study suggest that high levels of sedentary behavior may increase the risk of ovarian cancer, but they do not support a major impact of light and moderate physical activity on ovarian cancer risk.

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