How physically fit a man is by time he’s 50 years old may determine his chances of surviving cancer, says a new study. According to new research published in JAMA Oncology, 65-year old men diagnosed with cancer who were physically fit in their middle ages [around 40 to 60 years old] were 32% less likely to die from it compared to their unfit counterparts. “It’s pretty remarkable that a fitness estimate 10-15 years before your actual cancer diagnosis can predict how long you’re going to live after you develop cancer,” said Dr. Susan Lakoski, the study's lead researcher. The study tested the cardio-respiratory fitness of 14,000 men between 46 and 50 years old by making them run on a treadmill. Their fitness levels were tracked for 6 and a half years between 1971 and 2009. Of these, 1,691 men were diagnosed with cancer in the span of the study. By the end, 20% of the men who had low fitness had died compared to the 7% of the men who had moderate and high levels of fitness. Additionally, the men with high levels of fitness were 32% less likely to die from cancer-related causes and 68% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease-related causes compared to their counterparts. “Men who are physically fit are expected to have lower levels of [cancer-related] sex hormones, enhanced immunity and lower inflammation," said Dr. Lakoski. "These effects may act together to inhibit cancer, as well as risk of dying from cancer or heart disease. ” “Your health behaviors and your fitness earlier in life has an impact 20 or 30 years later – and that’s what people don’t realize,” she added. Thus, simple exercises like walking or biking while men are in their prime is encouraged, as this forms a good foundation and helps shape a healthier lifestyle towards middle age.
Sources: March 26, 2015. "How Men Can Protect Against Cancer". time.com March 26, 2015. "Cancer Risk Factors For Men Include Fitness Level: Exercise Like Your Life Depends On It, Because It Does". medicaldaily.com March 26, 2015. "Midlife fitness may lower risk of some cancers for men later in life, study suggests". theglobeandmail.com March 27, 2015. "Fit middle-aged men 'at lower risk for some cancers". bbc.com