By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TVBy Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – As Dr. Mallika Marshall reports, there is even more reason to get up and move. A new study finds that sitting on your duff for long periods of time can raise a woman’s risk of cancer.

Researchers at the American Cancer Society looked at almost 150,000 men and women over 17 years. They found that women who spent more time sitting during leisure time, that is time not working, were at a 10% higher risk of developing cancer, especially multiple myeloma, breast and ovarian cancer. Lack of exercise didn’t seem to play a role, and they did not find the same increased risk in men.

The study had some flaws but it supports other evidence that sitting for too long promotes disease.

It’s not clear why women are affected and not men, but it may be related to estrogen which can promote the development of breast and ovarian cancer. The study may also not have been long enough to detect the development of say, prostate cancer, in men.

But standing for too long at work can also be harmful. It’s been reported that about half of all employees spend more than 75% of their work day standing and new research suggests this can lead to muscle fatigue, leg cramps and back pain. You can also get foot pain, swollen legs and varicose veins.

So the take home message is that either extreme has some consequences. Sitting too long or standing too long. Trying to find a balance is important.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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