How you spend your spare time can influence your cancer risk. That’s the latest word from an American Cancer Society study that finds spending more leisure-time sitting increases the risk of cancer in women.
The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, found women who spent long hours sitting were 10 percent more likely to develop multiple myeloma, breast, and ovarian cancers.
The findings held true even after taking into account weight, physical activity, and other factors. The study found no association between sitting time and cancer risk in men.
For their study, lead researcher Alpa Patel and colleagues compared leisure-time sitting to cancer risk among more than 146,000 men and women enrolled in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort — a long-running study that tracked participants form 1992 and 2009.
During that time, 18,555 men and 12,236 women were diagnosed with cancer.
"Longer leisure-time spent sitting was associated with a higher risk of total cancer risk in women, and specifically with multiple myeloma, breast, and ovarian cancers, but sitting time was not associated with cancer risk in men,” the researchers concluded. “Further research is warranted to better understand the differences in associations between men and women."
Patel and colleagues said the high rate of time Americans spend sitting in the U.S. — at work, while driving, watching TV, or using a computer — has broad public health implications. But more research is needed to understand the differences in how sedentary lifestyles affect men and women and their cancer risks.
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