Prolonged sitting while watching TV set has been linked to high risk of developing colorectal cancer before you strike age 50, according to results from a recent research.
This effect is greater for cancer that begins in the rectum, was not dependent on exercise and body mass index (BMI).
The recent study was published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum.
This research is one of the first to connection a particular sedentary behavior to a higher risk of young-onset colorectal cancer (colorectal cancer that begins before age 50).
Before this recent study, past researches have already suggested that sitting for a long time while viewing TV could be a risk factor for colorectal cancer, though they have not looked precisely at young-onset colorectal cancer.
According to the team, the young-onset colorectal cancer is usually more aggressive than colorectal cancer that develops later in life and is likely to have some distinctive biological features.
Moreover, the cancer is usually at an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis, resulting in poorer rates of survival.
According to senior study author Dr. Yin Cao, an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, “the new finding may help identify those at high risk and who might benefit more from early screening.”
Colorectal cancer mostly arises from small growths, or polyps, that develop in the lining of that part of the gut.
It can take many years for polyps to turn into tumors, and not all polyps become cancerous.
The extent to which the tumor spreads determines the severity and stage of the cancer.
Early diagnosis is one way to fight the rising trend in young-onset colorectal cancer. This means that there is a need to identify those at higher risk of early-onset disease.
However, so far, few studies have identified risk factors that are specific to those aged 20–49 years.
The research team got data from Nurses’ Health Study, which is part of a 1976 project that is studying the “risk factors for major chronic diseases in women.”
The team examined data on 89,278 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II. This data included surveys about cancer diagnoses and sedentary behavior, including the amount of time that the women spent sitting and watching TV.
During a 22-year follow-up period, 118 of the women received a diagnosis of young-onset colorectal cancer.
The researchers then carried out an examination that compared the women who developed cancer with those who did not, focusing on the time that they spent sitting and viewing TV.
They were able to establish a connection between “prolonged sedentary TV viewing time” and a higher risk of young-onset colorectal cancer, even after adjusting for known risk factors, such as BMI, exercise, diet, smoking, and family history of colorectal cancer.
The analysis revealed that sitting and watching TV every day for more than 1 hour was tied to a 12 percent higher risk of developing young-onset colorectal cancer.
The researchers call for further studies to establish a biological explanation for their findings, which is deficient in cause and effect. Also, there is a need to find out whether there might be any benefit in having “more intensive screening” for those who spend a lot of time sitting.
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