A new and alarming study says that women who sit too long—either at work or at home—might be at a significantly higher risk for developing cancer than those who are more active.
Karen Basen-Engquist is the director of the Center for Energy Balance and Cancer Prevention and Survivorship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. While she was not involved in the study she comments, “I think this is a really interesting result. There’s been a growing body of literature over the past couple of years that too much sitting carries risk above just lack of exercise. Only in the past few years have we seen studies address cancer specifically.”
Basen-Engquist goes on to say, “It’s interesting you don’t see the effect in men as strongly because when we look at physical activity it’s a risk factor for certain cancers in men, too. I think maybe something about those particular cancers like ovarian and invasive breast cancer and endometrial that it’s driven by something that’s effected by the sitting behavior.”
Furthermore, she continues, “It is self-reported data; the people were asked in general to estimate how much they sit and that can be a hard thing to estimate because it varies day to day and you can have problems remembering.”
The study researchers do say, though, that this is just the beginning. They suggest: “Longer follow-up is needed to confirm the persistence of weight gain in breast cancer survivors and understand the metabolic changes that may be occurring.”
And they advise, “You really have to take charge of your own lifestyle and your body because the doctors aren’t there with you every day giving you medication or holding your hands to keep your weight down.”