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Sitting down at work can increase your risk of bowel cancer by 44%

A new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology has been brought into the spotlight by Cancer Council Victoria shows that prolonged sitting at work increases your risk of bowel cancer by 44%.

Work habits, ergonomics and everyday choices can contribute to 
risk of developing bowel cancer. As part of the study, people who did not sit at work were compared to everyday desk-sitters.

What causes bowel cancer?

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol intake, drug usage, diet, physical activity and hereditary factors increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer and now is has been proven that sitting down too long dramatically raises your risk of bowel cancer. 

“If everything else is equal, such as body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, and this is the one factor that we change, we found people who sit all day had a 44 percent higher risk of developing bowel cancer,” said Dr Lynch, Senior Research Fellow at Cancer Council Victoria.

“There are more than 14,000 bowel cancer diagnosis in Australia each year and its becoming so common that the chance of developing the disease before aged 85, is one in 13.”

Bowel Cancer Prevention

It has been proven in many studies that individuals who participate in physical activity reduced their risk of developing cancer. 

“The study found that physical activity performed in the workplace, for recreation or transport decreases risk of colon cancer; and that physical activity performed at work decreases the risk of rectal cancer.”

Here are some tips for being more active in, around and on your way to work:

  • Use a height adjustable standing desk.
  • Pace or walk around while making phone calls.
  • Try having stand up meetings.
  • Get your workstation setup ergonomically by a professional.
  • Stretch, set a reminder every two hours to stretch.
  • Try breathing techniques, oxygen / good quality breath is essential for good health.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Active lunch breaks, go for a walk, play sport or a quick gym session.
  • If you drive to work park far away or on a lower level then walk / take the stairs. 
  • If you take transit, get off one stop earlier and walk the extra distance.

ABC Radio interviews Dr Lynch, click here to listen to the interview. Alternatively contact Direct Endoscopy to have your bowel cancer questions answered or your bowel cancer concerns investigated. 



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