Physical activity and the primary prevention of cancer

Prim Care. 1998 Jun;25(2):515-36. doi: 10.1016/s0095-4543(05)70080-4.


Evidence has been accumulating that suggests that physical activity may help reduce the risk of cancer. Physically active people have been shown to have a decreased rate of all-cancer mortality. The incidence of colon, breast, and perhaps prostate cancer are decreased in more active people when compared with their sedentary peers. Chronic physical activity may decrease tumor risk by its effect on natural immunity, antioxidant defenses, improved energy balance, hormonal changes, or by other unknown mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Research Design / standards
  • Risk Factors