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Prolonged Sitting Associated with Colon Polyps and Cancer

Researchers followed more than 1,700 men and women who had had one or more colorectal polyps removed and found that men who sit down (watching television, using a computer, writing or reading) for 11 or more hours a day are 45 percent more likely to develop recurrent polyps in their colons than those who spend fewer than seven hours a day sitting (Annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Oxon Hill, MD. October 28, 2013).

This means that more than 170,000 cases of colon cancer may be caused by sitting each year. The average American sits for 15.5 hours each day. Even people who exercise regularly may not be protected from the effects of sitting too long. Men who spent a lot of time sitting and also very little time exercising had a 41 percent greater risk for polyps than men who sat long hours but also exercised.

Polyps are benign tumors in your colon that can become malignant. Having just one polyp increases risk for colon cancer so much that people who have had polyps need to be checked every few years throughout their lives. Not having any polyps on a colonoscopy markedly reduces your chances for developing colon cancer. Benign polyps can be removed easily at the time of a colonoscopy.

Also see: Sitting increases heart attack and cancer risk
How sitting shortens lives

November 3rd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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