Physical activity and lung cancer risk in men and women

Cancer Causes Control. 2017 Apr;28(4):309-318. doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0872-4. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


Purpose: Although evidence has accumulated that recreational physical activities (PA) may reduce lung cancer risk, there is little evidence concerning the possible role of a potentially more important source of PA, namely occupational PA. We investigated both recreational and lifetime occupational PA in relation to lung cancer risk in a population-based case-control study in Montreal, Canada (NCASES = 727; NCONTROLS = 1,351).

Methods: Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR), separately for men and women, adjusting for smoking, exposure to occupational carcinogens, and sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

Results: In both sexes, increasing recreational PA was associated with a lower lung cancer risk (ORMEN = 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.47-0.92; ORWOMEN = 0.55, 95% CI 0.34-0.88, comparing the highest versus lowest tertiles). For occupational PA, no association was observed among women, while increasing occupational PA was associated with increased risk among men (ORMEN = 1.96, 95% CI 1.27-3.01). ORs were not modified by occupational lung carcinogen exposure, body mass index, and smoking level; results were similar across lung cancer histological types.

Conclusions: Our results support the previous findings for recreational PA and lung cancer risk. Unexpectedly, our findings suggest a positive association for occupational PA; this requires replication and more detailed investigation.

Keywords: Case–control studies; Exercise; Histology; Lung neoplasms; Motor activity; Occupation; Recreation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protective Factors
  • Recreation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*