Men and Women. Young and old. 70% of those diagnosed have no family history of the condition. It’s not commonly spoken about, but with 1 in 13 Australians being diagnosed with this condition each year it’s time we started talking.

Bowel Cancer (or colorectal cancer) is a cancer located in any part of the colon or rectum. Usually these are non-threatening growth developed on the lining of the bowel. However, if left untreated, they can develop into cancerous tumours. In circumstances where the growths become cancerous, they can spread beyond the bowel, affecting other organs in the body.

So how does exercise interplay in this condition? Research suggests that physical activity has an association with improved colorectal cancer prognosis if completed either pre-diagnosis or post-diagnosis. Greater benefits are reported from those who completed higher amounts of physical activity, although the exact amount of exercise required for these benefits is yet to be determined.

Studies have yet to determine the impact that exercise has on specific biomarkers of cancer. Yet this is not necessarily the crux of its benefit. Exercise plays an important role in the management of the modifiable risk factors impacting on this condition. Additionally, physical activity participation has a great association with improved quality of life and psychological health in this survival group.

Risk Factors

Non-Modifiable Modifiable
  • Family History
  • Hereditary Conditions
  • Personal Health History
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Intake
  • Obesity Classification
  • Diet (i.e. processed meat, wholegrain intake)

Reaching the recommended daily amount of exercise (150 minutes/week) is an attainable amount of exercise for this population to work towards in order to achieve optimal health benefits. A combination of appropriate and relevant education coupled with a relevant home exercise program has proved its effectiveness in assisting with the management of this condition and promoting benefits to an individual’s overall quality of life.

Additional information regarding this condition and its management can be found on the below websites. However, if you would like more information as to how exercise can be of benefit to you, please book in with our Accredited Exercise Physiologists today.

Bowel Cancer Australia:

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program:


Je, Y., Jeon, J. Y., Giovannucci, E. L. & Meyerhardt, J. A. (2013). Association between physical activity and mortality in colorectal cancer: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Internation Journal of Cancer, 133(8), 1905-1915. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.28208

Park, J., Lee, J., Oh, M., Park, H., Chae, J., Kim, D., Lee, M. K., Yoon, Y. J., Lee, C. W., Park, S., Jones, L. W., Kim, N. K., Kim, S. & Jeon, J. Y. (2015). The Effect of Oncologists’ Exercise Recommendations on the Level of Exercise and Quality of Life in Survivors of Breast and Colorectal Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Cancer, 121(16). 2740-2748. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29400

Lee, D. H., Kim, J. Y., Lee, M. K., Lee, C., Min, J. H., Jeong, D. J., Lee, J. W., Chu, S. H., Meyerhardt, J. A., Ligibel, J., Jones, L. W., Kim, N. K. & Jeon, J. Y. (2013). Effects of a 12-week home-based exercise program on the level of physical activity, insulin, and cytokines in colorectal cancer survivors: a pilot study. Support Care Cancer, 21(9), 2537-2545. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-013-1822-7