Topic: NCI Provocative Questions
How does the level, type, or duration of physical activity influence cancer risk and prognosis?
Background: Several studies have shown that physical activity has important but poorly understood features that lower cancer risk and positively affect the progression of tumor development. These studies also have suggested that these effects are due to more that just weight loss or caloric restriction. This Provocative Question seeks studies to determine what features of physical activity are most important in achieving these benefits.
Feasibility: Researchers may be able to join with other ongoing studies on the effects of physical activity to learn what components of physical activity affect cancer incidence or progression or it may be possible to initiate new studies to begin to assess aspects of the effects of physical activity. The important features that could be studied include: What types of physical activity, ranging from active life style to aerobic or anaerobic workout programs, lead to these benefits? Is the length of activity or the intensity key to the advantages? Are there good hypotheses that deserve follow-up about what molecular changes induced by physical activity might be linked to the beneficial effects?
Implications of success: Better understanding of how physical activity affects cancer risk will lead to stronger and better recommendations about healthy life style. Eventual understanding of the molecular causes for such benefits could lead to better understanding of what physiological events could serve as models to future prevention research.