The Association between Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention, Recovery, and Recurrence: A Narrative Review


  • Shazia Tahira Bahria University, Karachi, Pakistan Author



Neoplasms, Cancer, Physical Activity, Primary Prevention, Post-Exercise Recovery, Relapse Prevention, Physiological Phenomena


Cancer is a leading cause of death globally, accounting for around one in six deaths worldwide. This highlights the need to find effective prevention and recovery strategies. Physical activity, encompassing all bodily movements that consume energy, is significantly linked to cancer risk and survival. 28% of adults are insufficiently active, making physical inactivity the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Approximately one-third of cancer deaths are due to low physical activity and a poor diet. This narrative review explores the relationship between physical activity and cancer prevention, recovery, and recurrence. The findings indicate that adhering to recommended physical activity levels can significantly reduce the risk of various cancers, including breast, endometrial, kidney/renal, colon, rectal, liver, lung, bladder, head and neck cancer, gastric cardia, esophageal adenocarcinoma, myeloma, myeloid leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Physical activity aids in cancer recovery by reducing treatment side effects, enhancing physical fitness, mental health, and quality of life, and reducing recurrence risk. It influences cancer progression by controlling genomic instability, metabolic regulation, hormonal balance, and mitochondrial and immune function enhancement. Despite the known benefits, integrating physical activity into cancer care is not widespread due to barriers like pain, fatigue, a lack of motivation, and insufficient information. In conclusion, increasing physical activity across all life domains can markedly reduce cancer's burden and improve well-being. Personalized physical activity goals are recommended for individuals of all ages, including children with cancer. The study also recommends further research into different types of physical activities and their impact on various cancer types This is crucial for developing targeted interventions and comprehensive care strategies to harness the full potential of physical activity in cancer control.


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How to Cite

Tahira, S. (2023). The Association between Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention, Recovery, and Recurrence: A Narrative Review. Health Nexus, 1(4), 54-66.

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