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Fish and Exercise can Reduce the risk of Colon Cancer Relapse

Update Date: Jun 04, 2014 10:15 AM EDT

Patients recovering from colon cancer can take preventive measures in order to reduce their chances of a relapse, a new study reported. Researchers discovered that maintaining an active lifestyle and eating a diet that includes fish could prevent the return of colon cancer.

"Once somebody is diagnosed with colon cancer, they may think there is nothing they can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle," said lead author Dr. Mohammed Shaik, a fellow at Michigan State University's Breslin Cancer Center according to HealthDay. "We show they can help prevent a recurrence."

For this study, the researchers examined data on 1,515 colon cancer patients who were from the United States, Poland, Vietnam and other nations from Western Europe. 188 of them had a recurrence of their cancer after their treatment ended. The researchers collected information on the patient's diet, exercise routine, smoking and drinking habits.

The researchers found that people who ate fish less than twice a week and were active for less than one hour per week had a 2.5 times greater risk of suffering from colon cancer recurrence. Other dietary habits, such as meat or alcohol consumption did not affect the risk of colon cancer returning. The team added that smoking did not affect this risk either.

"In the United States, there are people who include fish as part of their diet intentionally to be healthier. It's not a standard part of our diet, like it is in other parts of the world," Dr. Smitha Krishnamurthi, an ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) spokeswoman and an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH said according to WebMD. "There's a growing body of epidemiologic evidence that exercise is associated with a reduced risk of recurrent colon cancer. It makes sense. For example, we know that exercise reduces insulin levels in the body, and insulin is a growth factor for both normal cells and malignant cells."

The study was presented at the ASCO meeting in Chicago, IL.

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