HealthDay News — According to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, just a half hour a day of moderate physical activity could improve survival odds for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC).

Study authors who tracked 1231 CRC patients found a 19% decline in risk for early death among those who got 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily. 

Five or more hours of moderate — but non-vigorous — activity a week pushed that survival benefit to 25%. Walking, cleaning or gardening counted as moderate exercise, the study authors said. A half hour of such activity daily also translated into a 16% decrease in the progression of disease, the researchers found. 

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The findings held up even after accounting for a range of factors, including patient age, body weight, overall health, other serious disease or the particular type of cancer treatment underway.

The researchers noted that advanced-stage CRC patients only appeared to derive benefit from moderate — not vigorous — activity. No similar link was seen with routinely engaging in more strenuous sports or running.

“While exercise is by no means a substitute for chemotherapy, patients can experience a wide range of benefits from as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day,” lead author Brendan Guercio, MD, a resident physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a symposium news release.


Physical Activity Linked to Longer Survival in Advanced Colorectal Cancer [press release]. Alexandria, VA: American Society of Clinical Oncology; January 17, 2017.

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