Exercise, aspirin consumption and childbirth may alter cancer risk

>Moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of renal cell carcinoma, but only in men, while exercise may also reduce risk, but only in women.

Renal cell carcinoma, the most common malignant kidney tumor, has no known cause but has been associated with a number of risk factors. A study by the universities of Southern California and Hawaii found that risks of renal cell carcinoma rise sharply with being overweight, smoking or hypertension, and decrease with physical activity and moderate alcohol consumption.

Wendy Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at USC, and her colleagues studied data from 167,200 ethnically diverse Americans who had participated in a study from 1993 to 1996. During an eight-year follow-up period, the researchers found 246 men and 129 women who were diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma.

"By examining the association between body size, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and medical conditions, we discovered that body mass index (BMI) increases risk, smoking and hypertension had independently higher risks of cancer, while physical activity and drinking appeared to reduce the risks," Setiawan said. "While smoking has long been associated with the cancer, some of the other risk factors are newly found associations and merit further study in preventing the disease."

The risk of renal cell cancer increased incrementally with every rising unit of BMI (measured as weight divided by height squared), especially among women. Being obese with a BMI over 30 posed a 1.5 times higher risk of cancer for men, and more than 2 and a third times higher risk for women. Hypertension increased the risk by one-and-a-half times for men and more than one-and-two-third times for women. Cigarette smoking, long considered a risk factor, was confirmed by the study.

Increased alcohol consumption, however, reduced the risk by about one-third, but only among men. In addition, physical ac

Contact: Warren Froelich
American Association for Cancer Research

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