People who are more active and exercise more intensely are less likely to develop cancer and die from the disease, according to a study undertaken in Finland. The researchers found a link between higher oxygen consumption during physical activity and reduced illness and likelihood of dying from cancer.

They assessed the leisure time physical activity of 2,560 men aged 42-61 years over 12 months and subsequently followed the men for an average 16 years. Those who had exercised at a moderate to high intensity for at least 30 minutes a day were half as likely to develop cancer as those who had not. The authors say physical inactivity during a person’s lifetime could be a key factor in their likelihood of developing cancer.

Laukkanen JA, Rauramaa R, Makikallio TH et al. Br J Sports Med 2009;doi 10.1136/bjsm.2008.056713

Originally published in the September 2009 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.