Office workers at risk of prostate cancer

desk_jobA study found those who spend most of their working lives sitting down are almost 30 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than those with very active jobs. (Pictured: Men with desk jobs are encouraged to take regular exercise.)

Analysis of 45,000 men aged 45 to 79 found those who had highly physical jobs were 28 per cent less likely to develop the disease than those who spent most of their working lives sitting. Researchers say men who spend most of their time sitting down – at a desk job for instance – are more likely to get prostate cancer In turn, those who sat for half of their working day had a 20 per cent lower risk than men who spent their entire day sitting, the British Journal of Cancer reports.

Other forms of exercise also had an impact, with men who walked or cycled for more than an hour a day having a 14 per cent lower risk than those who walked or cycled for 40 minutes or less a day. Although regular exercise is recommended for all-round health, evidence of its protective effect against prostate cancer had been lacking until now. The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said it appeared that exercise in a man’s youth and middle-age affected his risk of contracting cancer.

They are not sure why exercise is protective but suspect it alters levels of certain hormones associated with the cancer, including testosterone. They concluded: ‘Findings from this study show that not sitting for most of the time during work or occupational activity and longer daily durations of the main component of active living (walking or cycling) may be associated with reduced prostate cancer incidence.

Previous studies have suggested that diets rich in fruit in vegetables can cut the risk of the disease, which affects 35,000 British men a year. Dr Helen Rippon, of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: ‘This study recommends that men of all ages try to be active for a total of at least one hour each day. This doesn’t mean you have to “go for the burn” at the gym every evening; walking or cycling will do perfectly well.’

Post published in: Analysis

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