The report was published Jan. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
For the study, Campbell's team collected data on nearly 2,300 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer that had not spread beyond the colon. During 16 years of follow-up, more than 800 patients died, nearly 400 of them from colorectal cancer and the rest from other causes.
After examining the data, Campbell's group found that people who exercised the most -- such as walking 150 minutes a week -- had about a 28 percent lower risk of dying compared to those who exercised less.
Sitting six hours or more a day during leisure time was linked to a 36 percent increased risk of dying compared to sitting less than three hours a day, the study found.
"I think this applies to more than colon cancer, because what they are describing is all-cause mortality not just mortality from colon cancer," said Dr. David Bernstein, a gastroenterologist and chief of the division of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.
"They are reinforcing that exercise and physical activity is associated with a lower risk of dying and it's better for you than just sitting there doing nothing," he said. "The body was meant to move around."
To learn more about colon cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Peter Campbell, Ph.D., director, Tumor Repository, American Cancer Society; David Bernstein, M.D., gastroenterologist and chief, division of hepatology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Jan. 22, 2013, Journal of Clinical Oncology
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