WCRF helps fund largest ever prostate cancer and genetics study

Scientists funded by World Cancer Research Fund found that being active can HALVE a man's risk of prostate cancer

In the largest ever prostate cancer and genetics study, researchers funded by World Cancer Research Fund found that being active can halve a man's risk of prostate cancer.

We already know that being active reduces people's risk of bowel, breast and womb cancer – plus it helps prevent weight gain – but new evidence now suggests it may also reduce the chance of developing prostate cancer; the most common cancer in men in the UK.

We can estimate how active someone is based on their genes; this gives us a more accurate measurement of how much they move compared with just asking them to remember. And based on measurements from 140,000 men, the researchers revealed that those who were more active had a lower chance of prostate cancer.

The best part is, the research didn’t just look at vigorous exercise, but instead shows that any activity is better than none!

Dr Sarah Lewis, lead researcher of the study, said:

"There could be a larger effect of physical activity on prostate cancer than previously thought, so [this research] will hopefully encourage men to be more active."

At the moment, there are very few things men can do to reduce their risk of prostate cancer other than be a healthy weight, so this is one of the first research projects suggesting a link between prostate cancer and physical activity. With your help we can fund more research that could discover more ways that people can protect themselves from cancer.

What counts as being active?

Being physically active isn’t just important for prostate cancer. Our rigorous research shows that it ALSO reduces the risk of:

  • breast cancer
  • bowel cancer
  • womb cancer

Moving is also an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, which reduces the risk of at least 12 different types of cancer.

When talking about getting more active, people often have visions of lycra-clad elite athletes running around sports tracks. But being more active is much easier than you may think! There are plenty of ways to get more active every day, and they don’t involve breaking the bank by paying for gym memberships. Household chores such as vacuuming, gardening and ironing all count as activity. You can use our exercise calorie calculator to see how much activity you’re doing.