Physical activity in colorectal cancer

Author: Laura Ioana Gavrilaș1, Corina Ionescu2, Ovidiu Bălăcescu3, Daniel Cruceriu3,4, Lorena Filip1*, Doina Miere1


“Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

1Department of Bromatology, Hygiene, Nutrition, “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 23 Marinescu Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

2Department of Pharmaceutical Biochemistry and Clinical Laboratory, “Iuliu Haţieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 6 Louis Pasteur Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

3Department of Functional Genomics, Proteomics and Experimental Pathology, “Prof. Dr. Ion Chiricuta” Oncology Institute, 34-36 Republicii Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

4Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology and Geology, “Babes – Bolyai” University, 44 Gheorghe Bilaşcu Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania


Extensive epidemiological and experimental investigations have linked lifestyle and environmental factors to the risk of colorectal neoplasia. Protective factors include: a balanced diet based on whole grains, non-starchy vegetables and dairy products, maintenance of a healthy weight and regular physical activity, while excessive intake of red and processed meat, alcohol consumption and a sedentary behavior are frequently associated with carcinogenesis. These lifestyle factors are equally important even after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Both diet and physical activity can boost physical and physiological function, enhance the quality of life and reduce mortality among oncologic patients. The aim of this paper is to present the most relevant biological mechanisms linking physical activity with colorectal cancer in the context of prevention and cancer outcomes. Furthermore, we emphasize the importance of physical activity alone or in association with other modifiable lifestyle factors, as a reliable tool for prevention and/or improved prognosis in diagnosed patients.

Keywords: colorectal cancer, physical activity, prevention, prognosis, quality of life

Physical activity in colorectal cancer