Having a healthy heart is not just important for avoiding a heart attack. It is also necessary for battling cancer. New research shows how heart health affects people’s ability to battle cancer, particularly when it comes to men.

CBS news reports on the new study.

How can you keep your heart healthy?

Experts are recommending cardiovascular exercise and a diet rich in fruits and veggies.

The new study was published in Jama Oncology. Physicians found middle-age men with high cardiovascular respiratory fitness (also known as CRF) cut their threat of cancer death, if they were diagnosed at age 65 or older, by over thirty-three percent.

Surprisingly, even a slight adjustment in CRF can engender significant outcomes. Results were accumulated from men running on treadmills and showed that those who developed cancer and ran an 11.5-minute mile, compared to those just a half a minute slower, were 10 percent less likely to die of cancer.

Dr. Agus from CBS news commented on the study saying,

“Pretty amazing that a decade-and-a-half before the event, your cardio fitness predicted what was going to happen with cancer.”

Researchers found that participants who had high CRF at age 50 also demonstrated a decreased risk of developing lung cancer by over half, and colon cancer by over 40 percent, compared to men who had low levels of CRF.

Was there more research done that showed the same findings?

There were two studies that reflected similar results.

“A recent publication in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute described the effect of exercise on breast cancer in mice. Researchers observed that mice with hypoxic cancer cells, those with a reduced supply of oxygen, actually fared worse than mice with cells containing healthy supplies of oxygen. Chemotherapy drugs and radiation, the study notes, are more effective with oxygen,” according to CBS news.

There was another journal that also published results on this information in 2009. The journal Annals of Epidemiology published a study of nearly 1,000 Finnish men who were observed for an over 12 year time period. That study implied that higher circulating concentrations of lycopene could contribute to decreased threat of certain cancers.

Dr. Agus also said that exercise changes the body's environment, which can decrease the threat of cancer.

Agus said that if he drops a match in a field of grass after it rains, nothing happens. If he drops a match in Los Angeles, it goes up in flames; so a person needs a receptive environment. He found it important to emphasize this comparison.

Dr. Agus also stated that, “While this study only tested men, there should not be a major physiologic difference for women.”


Gerry Oginski
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