High levels of fitness in middle age can help men survive cancer, a study has found.
Keeping fit reduced chances of those who developed lung, bowel or prostate cancer dying from their disease by almost a third, the research showed.
Mid-life fitness also lowered the risk of being diagnosed with lung and bowel cancer, but apparently not prostate cancer.
The cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) of almost 14,000 US men was measured using treadmill tests and their health from age 65 was monitored for 6.5 years. In this time, 1,310 of the group were diagnosed with prostate cancer, 200 with lung cancer and 181 with bowel cancer.
The authors, led by Dr Susan Lakoski, from the University of Vermont in the US, wrote in the journal JAMA Oncology: "To our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate that CRF is predictive of site-specific cancer incidence, as well as risk of death from cancer or CVD (cardiovascular disease) following a cancer diagnosis."
The research showed thigh mid-life fitness was associated with a 55pc reduced risk of lung cancer and a 44pc lower risk of bowel cancer compared with men with low CRF readings.
However, the same association was not seen between mid-life CRF and prostate cancer.
This could be due to fitter men being more likely to request routine blood tests, creating a greater likelihood of prostate cancer diagnosis, said the authors.
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