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Nat Rev Cancer. 2008 Mar;8(3):205-11. doi: 10.1038/nrc2325.

Mechanisms linking physical activity with cancer.

Author information

  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA. amctiern@fhcrc.org


About 25% of cancer cases globally are due to excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity may decrease risk for various cancers by several mechanisms, including decreasing sex hormones, metabolic hormones and inflammation, and improving immune function. The level of physical activity might also be associated with prognosis among individuals with cancer. Randomized clinical trials have shown that physical activity interventions can change biomarkers of cancer risk. Observational studies can also provide useful information on mechanisms that might link physical activity to cancer.

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