(HealthDay News) — Higher cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with a lower risk of multiple cancers but a higher risk of 2 cancers in men, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researchers examined associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and site-specific cancers using data from 1.078 million men who underwent military conscription in Sweden from 1968 to 2005.

Over a mean follow-up of 33 years, 84,117 men developed cancer in at least 1 site.

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Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12) or malignant skin cancer (HR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.27-1.36).

Higher cardiorespiratory fitness was also associated with a lower risk of developing:

  • Head and neck cancer (HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.74-0.90)
  • Esophageal cancer (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50-0.74)
  • Stomach cancer (HR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.67-0.94)
  • Pancreatic cancer (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.76-1.01)
  • Liver cancer (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.51-0.71)
  • Colon cancer (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.75-0.90)
  • Rectal cancer (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.85-1.05)
  • Kidney cancer (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.70-0.90)
  • Lung cancer (HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.51-0.66).

“Our study suggests that cardiorespiratory fitness is linearly associated with a lower hazard of developing most of the site-specific cancers assessed here, some of which have not previously been reported in relation to cardiorespiratory fitness or physical activity,” the researchers wrote. “These results strengthen the incentive for promoting interventions aimed at increasing cardiorespiratory fitness in youth.”

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