Cancer's Killer Jobs

Colorectal cancer risks increase after years of sedentary work

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) You work long and hard, toiling away at a keyboard hour after hour. Well, like just about everything else in life these days, years of sitting could be hazardous to your health.

It's long been known that sedentary lifestyles aren't the most healthful. Being a couch potato can lead to the worst of the worst - from heart disease and diabetes to some forms of cancer.

If your work requires that you sit at a desk most of the time, then you're fairly sedentary and new research shows that your risks of certain colon cancers are increased.

"Don't just sit there; get up and walk around."

The population study conducted in Western Australia involved a total of 918 people with colorectal cancers and 1,021 disease-free people who served as controls. Data collected included lifestyle, physical activity, and lifetime job history during 2005-2007.

The research found that people who spent 10 or more years in sedentary work had more than twice the risk of distal colon cancer. This is the part of the colon that travels down and away from the stomach, and is the location for most colon cancers.

Years of sitting at work was also associated with a 44 percent increased risk of rectal (end of the colon) cancer.

Sedentary worklife didn't impact risk of proximal colon cancer. The proximal colon travels up the abdomen.

Cancer risks were not affected in any way by recreational physical activity.

Study findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 27, 2011
Last Updated:
July 1, 2011