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J Phys Act Health. 2014 Jan;11(1):85-90. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2011-0257. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Physical activity and survival after cancer diagnosis in men.

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  • 1Division of Preventive Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.



The number of cancer survivors is increasing rapidly; however, little is known about whether engaging in physical activity after a cancer diagnosis is associated with lower mortality rates in men.


We conducted a prospective cohort study of 1021 men (mean age, 71.3 years) who were diagnosed with cancer (other than nonmelanoma skin cancer). Men reported their physical activities (walking, stair climbing, and participation in sports and recreational activities) on questionnaires in 1988, a median of 6 years after their cancer diagnosis. Physical activity was updated in 1993 and men were followed until 2008, with mortality follow-up > 99% complete, during which 777 men died (337 from cancer, 190 from cardiovascular disease).


In multivariate analyses, the relative risks for all-cause mortality associated with expending < 2100, 2100-4199, 4200-8399, 8400-12,599, and ≥ 12,600 kJ/week in physical activity were 1.00 (referent), 0.77, 0.74, 0.76, and 0.52, respectively (P-trend < 0.0001). Higher levels of physical activity also were associated with lower rates of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease (P- trend = 0.01 and 0.002, respectively).


Engaging in physical activity after cancer diagnosis is associated with better survival among men.

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