Exercise: A key to cancer prevention

The health benefits of exercise

Senior couple enjoying outdoor exercise. Credit: Zoran Pucarevic/Shuttertock.com

In anticipation of World Cancer Day in February, recent findings from Spain suggest a strong link between physical activity and cancer prevention.

The Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM)has launched an awareness campaign highlighting the importance of exercise in cancer prevention and treatment.

This initiative coincides with World Cancer Day, celebrated each year on February 4. SEOM’s efforts aim to educate both the public and healthcare professionals about the benefits of incorporating physical activity into cancer care.

Physical activity and cancer risk

Statistics from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) reveal that only 37.7 per cent of Spain’s adult population engages in regular physical activity, while 27.4 per cent describe themselves as sedentary.

SEOM’s campaign stresses the need to increase these numbers due to the protective effects of exercise against cancer.

Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer by up to 30 per cent and can lower mortality by nearly 20 per cent once cancer is diagnosed.

This is particularly evident in cancers such as breast, colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, endometrium, and stomach. The campaign emphasizes exercise as a crucial part of cancer prevention, treatment, and relapse avoidance.

Cancer trends in Spain

SEOM’s annual report, ‘Cancer figures in Spain 2024’, to be presented on World Cancer Day, forecasts that 286,664 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2024, marking a 2.6 per cent increase from 2023.

This rise is attributed to population growth, ageing, and lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, poor diet, and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

The report’s findings underscore the urgency of SEOM’s campaign. By promoting physical activity, SEOM aims to not only raise awareness but also encourage a national shift towards healthier living, potentially reducing the growing cancer incidence in Spain.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Gerry Ryan

      29 January 2024 • 20:32

      We exercise 5 days a week.. At least a good fast walk…

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