Men who are more physically active may have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a study that relied on a cutting-edge form of genetic analysis to reach this conclusion, MedicalNewsToday reports.

Among men in the United States and around the world, prostate cancer is the second most common malignancy. Nearly 175,000 American men are estimated to have developed the cancer in 2019.

Researchers at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London in the United Kingdom employed a method known as Mendelian randomization that permitted them to analyze genetic variations between individuals to identify associations between potential risk factors and prostate cancer.

Publishing their findings in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the research team, which was led by Sarah J. Lewis, PhD, of Bristol Medical School, analyzed medical data regarding 79,148 men with prostate cancer as well as 61,106 men without the cancer who served as controls.

According to the Mendelian randomization analysis, a particular genetic variation that increased men’s likelihood of being physically active was associated with a 51% lower risk of cancer compared with the lack of the variation. Such activity doesn’t refer specifically to physical exercise but to activity of any kind.

This association between the physical-activity gene and cancer risk was the strongest of the 22 prostate cancer risk factors the investigators analyzed.

“ The results suggest that interventions aimed at increasing physical activity may reduce prostate-cancer risk,” the study authors concluded.

To read the MedicalNewsToday article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.