Climbing and Cancer Prevention

What does Climbing have to do with Cancer?

Did you know that climbing has tremendous potential health benefits?  Not only does climbing require a combination of core, upper and lower body strength, it requires endurance, balance and flexibility.  And it is infinitely easier to climb if you have an ideal body weight.

The will to rise above the constant downward pull of gravity is increasingly being found to be a part of a healthy lifestyle that may help you overcome two of the biggest threats to longevity, heart disease and cancer.


There are 5 well documented risks for developing Renal Cell Kidney Cancer in multiple studies from around the world. They are very likely to increase your risk of kidney cancer: (1,2)

  • Smoking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity (accounts for 30-40% of new kidney cancer cases)
  • Male gender (males twice as likely as females)
  • Strong Family history (this accounts for only 2-4% of kidney cancers

There have been other risk factors that are associated with increased risk of kidney cancer in some studies, but not in others.  These are less certain risk factors but include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Charred or Grilled Meats
  • NSAIDS (Such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen etc)
  • Acquired cystic renal disease (in patients on dialysis)
  • Eating few fruits and vegetables

Exercise and Prevention

Here is are some results from a recent study finding in 1.4 million people, those who exercised in their free time had a significantly lower risk of getting 13 different kinds of cancer, including Kidney Cancer!  Therefore climbing and living a healthy lifestyle could literally save your life! (reference 3)

Moore et. al. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(6):816-825

Diet and Prevention

A recent meta-analysis showed that for every serving of vegetables a day, you can lower your risk of kidney cancer by about 10%.  That means that if you eat the recommended 5-7 servings, you can lower your risk by as much as 50-70%! (reference 4 below)


1. Chow, W., Dong, L., & Devesa, S. (2010). Epidemiology and risk factors for kidney cancer. Nature Reviews Urology, 7(5), 245–257.

2. Ljungberg, B., Campbell, S. C., Cho, H. Y., Jacqmin, D., Lee, J. E., Weikert, S., & Kiemeney, L. A. (2011). The epidemiology of renal cell carcinoma. European Urology, 60(4), 615–621.

3. Moore SC, Lee I-M, Weiderpass E, et al: Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults. JAMA Intern. Med. 2016; 176: 816–25. Available at:

4. Zhang S, Jia Z, Yan Z, et al: Consumption of fruits and vegetables and risk of renal cell carcinoma : a meta-analysis of observational studies. 2017; 8: 27892–27903.

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