TV Watching and Colon Cancer Survival

What You Need to Know: Prolonged TV watching may lower colorectal cancer survival chances.

The Study: Researchers analyzed data that had been collected for an earlier study. The initial investigation had included 566,398 men and women between the ages of 50 and 71, all of whom had completed an initial health and lifestyle questionnaire at some point between 1995 and 1996. All were asked to indicate the degree to which they had routinely participated in moderate to vigorous “leisure-time activity” on a weekly basis over the past decade. In the new analysis, the researchers honed in on nearly 3,800 participants who went on to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. On average, the diagnoses had occurred approximately five years following completion of the initial survey.

  • Researchers determined that colorectal cancer patients who had seven or more hours of weekly leisure activity before their diagnosis showed a 20 percent lower risk of dying — for any reason — than those who had engaged in no leisure activity whatsoever. And after analyzing a follow-up survey, the team found that those who engaged in seven or more hours of weekly leisure activity post-diagnosis faced a 31 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, regardless of their activity levels before diagnosis.
  • In addition, patients who routinely watched no more than two hours of television per week before diagnosis faced a 22 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than those who watched five or more hours per week.

My Take: Minimize television watching to lower your risk of colorectal cancer. Even light exercise such as a vigorous walk 30 minutes daily may lower your risk of many types of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and dementia. Colorectal cancer survivors may lower their risk of death by exercising for at least 4 hours each week. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

Journal of Clinical Oncology, 08 Dec 2014

Published by


Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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