Help us to stop bowel cancer

Six in ten adults not aware physical inactivity increases risk of bowel cancer

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Today (19 April 2017) we reveal that 62 per cent of UK adults are not aware that a lack of regular physical activity increases the risk of bowel cancer – the nation’s second biggest cancer killer.

Research shows that taking part in regular physical activity, which is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, can decrease your risk of bowel cancer by as much as 12 per cent. Astonishingly, a recent survey revealed that more than 20 million people in the UK do not reach or exceed this minimum target.   

Every year 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, it’s the fourth most common cancer. Scientists think around half (54%) of all bowel cancers could be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy weight, taking more exercise, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking.

We commissioned the poll to launch our latest fundraising challenge, Step up for 30, and to encourage people to take up regular exercise and be more active to reduce their risk of bowel cancer. It’s really simple, just get sponsored to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day for 30 days in June.  Every 30 minutes someone dies of bowel cancer in the UK.  

Professor Annie S Anderson, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research, says: “Taking action to be a healthy body weight is one of the most important ways to reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Many dietary factors are important but so too is being as active as possible. One important message is that we should be physically active in everyday life (at home, work and leisure) and limit the time spent sitting, which can help to reduce bowel cancer risk as well as many other diseases.”

ITV sports broadcaster, Jim Rosenthal is encouraging the nation to sign up to the challenge: “As a sports presenter I love my sports, and don’t need any excuse to kick a football, run round the block or go for a long walk with my wife. That’s why I’m supporting Step Up for 30 to encourage you to take up the challenge and do 30 mins of exercise every day – it’ll be tough but worth it, and no, watching sports on TV doesn’t count!”

Luke Squires, Director of Fundraising at Bowel Cancer UK, says:
“Physical activity doesn’t just have to be about working out in a gym. You could walk, swim, dance, run, cycle, do yoga – the choice is up to you. If you’re new to regular physical activity you can still take part and get active by taking the stairs rather than the lift, doing housework, walking the dog, or getting off the bus a stop early – it’s that easy to get involved.”

Whilst you’re getting fitter and feeling healthier, you’ll be raising money to support vital research and lifesaving work to help stop bowel cancer.