Exercise’s Effects on Cancer

Cancer can be exacerbated by inflammation and exercise is known to cause inflammation. So shouldn’t exercise make cancer worse? On the contrary, it seems to make it better, but why?

It turns out that in studies they have found that people who regularly exercise and less likely to get cancer and if they have cancer, they are less likely to die.

Pumped Up Mice Have Clues

A recent study has noted that in mice who exercise changes take place including a raised level of insulin, and increases in specific chemicals and immune cells. It is thought that the combination of these can help prevent cancer or ameliorate its effects.

They injected a group of mice with melanoma cancer cells and gave half of them running wheels and the other half no wheel. After only 4 weeks there some stark differences between the two groups. Many more of the non-runners had developed melanoma in this time. In addition, they more lesions and larger lesions than the runners who had developed melanoma. Plus, they were more likely to have metastases.

Adrenaline & Interleukin-6

Adrenaline is produced as a response to stress, including exercise. It was found at higher levels in the runners not just after exercise but throughout the day. The runners also had higher levels of Interleukin-6 than the sedentary mice. IL-6 is a bit odd in that it can raise or lower inflammation based on where in the body and how it starts to work.

Natural Killer Cells

Natural Killer cells (NK cells) were also found at much higher levels in the blood stream of the runners and this might be most important of all because these potent fighters of cancer.

Adrenaline a Key to a Cascade of Effects

The scientists repeated the experiment with a twist. They injected some of the runners with a chemical that blocked adrenaline production and these runners developed cancer at the same rate as the sedentary mice.

They also gave some of the sedentary mice shots of adrenaline to raise their levels to near those of the runners. These mice developed much less cancer than other sedentary mice.

Gene Study

The scientists looked at how certain genes in the mice were working and found that the adrenaline was signaling the IL-6 cells. It was kind of a wake up call putting them at greater attention. The cells were then more responsive so that when cancer began to form they created a faster and larger response by activating the NK cells in the bloodstream.

Since the runners have more adrenaline, IL-6 and NK cells, they were able to combat the melanoma faster and better than the sedentary mice.

Get Some Exercise

There is no guarantee that the effect will be the same in people but it is known that exercise in people also increases adrenaline and NK cells. So it would be a good idea to make sure you get more exercise.

Killing College Kids- Is Yours Next?

Your college age student could be killing themselves at college and you may never know. How? Tanning beds or salons! Don’t laugh until you read the rest of this.

Tanning Beds Rampant on Campuses

How many of the top 125 colleges in the United States have tanning beds on campus or in off-campus housing? If you guessed 50% you would be right. Worse, at many of these schools, students’ can use their campus debit cards to pay for tanning sessions.

Why is this bad? You may be surprised to find out that tanning beds has been put in the top class of most virulent carcinogens along with asbestos, plutonium and sun exposure.

Greatly Increased Melanoma Risk

Tanning beds increase the risk of the three most common skin cancers. Just one use of a tanning bed increases the chances of melanoma by 20% and each session after that increases the chances by another 2%. Even scarier, for people in the 18-29 age range who have contracted melanoma, 76% of the cases were tied to the use of tanning beds. We don’t know if you know anything about melanoma, but it is a fast death sentence if not caught soon enough.

Increased Risk for Basal Cell Carcinoma Too

The numbers are similar for basal cell carcinoma. The chance of getting basal cell carcinoma increased by 73% for women who used a tanning bed 6 times a year or more in high school or college.

Females At Greatest Risk Because Greatest Users

Who uses tanning beds. Girls and young women primarily. Of 28 million people in the US who use them each year, 70% are females between 16 and 28.

It is of such concern that 12 states and DC have banned tanning bed use for anyone under the age of 18. This has reduced use but then they get to college and almost half of college students use tanning beds. And 96% of off campus housing facilities supply free tanning to residents. Not healthy.

Typically the tanning beds are poorly supervised, the students don’t wear proper eye protection and the conditions are frequently┬ánot very sanitary.

Efforts to Ban – Liability?

There are now efforts to get colleges to ban tanning beds or at least not allow students to pay for tanning services with their college debit card. One very effective way to get colleges to reconsider is to point out that if they don’t change it is very likely that they would held liable if a student was injured or developed skin cancer.

Concerns about tobacco, drugs and alcohol should be expanded to include tanning beds.