Exercisers more likely to avoid ovarian cancer

By Shayna Brouker • Published: September 12th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The risk of developing ovarian cancer gets higher with age, and scientists aren’t certain why. But there’s good news from some recent research: Exercise may help thwart the disease.

Two studies involving almost 28,000 women found a link between a sedentary lifestyle and ovarian cancer. The first study assessed data from 8,300 women with ovarian cancer and 12,600 others with no cancer. Inactive women were 34 percent more likely to get ovarian cancer than those who exercised. The findings were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The other study, which appeared in the British Journal of Cancer, found that women leading sedentary lives were 22 to 34 percent more likely to die from their ovarian cancer than those who had done at least some weekly exercise. The findings were consistent for both normal weight and overweight women.

Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York said the findings show that inactivity can be an important risk factor for ovarian cancer. Even so, women don’t have to have an all-or-nothing mindset. Less than 45 percent of women live longer than five years with ovarian cancer, but some doctors believe exercise might help patients live longer.

Early detection is crucial, so watch for symptoms that include bloating, abdominal pressure or pain, and frequent urination. If they last more than a few weeks, see a doctor. Some risk factors include a family history of ovarian cancer and age. Postmenopausal women are more likely to be diagnosed than those who are younger.

Meanwhile, if you have some of the risk factors for ovarian cancer, researchers say daily exercise is a smart move.