Physical activity and laryngeal cancer

Riccardo Nocini, Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, Giuseppe Lippi


Although an active lifestyle physical has been convincingly associated with a decreased risk of developing many forms of cancers, including neck and head malignancies, uncertainty surrounds the relationship between physical activity (PA) and laryngeal carcinogenesis. Epidemiologic evidence, garnered from some well-conducted cross-sectional, prospective and retrospective studies, seemingly attests that the impact of PA may be not so straightforward in lowering laryngeal cancer risk as for other malignancies. Reasonable consensus has been reached that moderate-intensity PA may generate the larger potential benefits, whilst the effect of high-intensity PA appears more controversial and even contradictory. This is mainly attributable to the fact that moderate PA may have more favorable effects than high-intensity exercise in decreasing the impact of some risk factors of laryngeal cancer such as metabolic syndrome, cigarette smoking, inflammation, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Significant biological and psychological benefits from moderate-intensity exercise have also been described in patients surviving from primary laryngeal cancers. This would hence lead us to conclude that promotion of an active lifestyle, characterized by performance of moderate-intensity PA (e.g., between 3 and 6 metabolic equivalents, equaling short distance running), may be beneficial for lowering the risk of developing laryngeal cancer and for improving the quality of life of larynx cancer survivors.