A Connection We Would Like to Avoid: Cancer February 4th, 2024 is World Cancer Day
Published: February 1, 2024

On February 4th, 2024,  there will be a collective message from Cancer Organizations around the world asking to close the gap in cancer care. As a Parkinson’s community, we can empathize with others who also lack the care that would benefit the lives of those diagnosed with the disease. We also understand the frustration of lack of information and a sense of hopelessness. So, in acknowledgement of this day, U-Turn Parkinson’s wanted to provide some information on Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Cancer.

Is there an Association between Parkinson’s disease and Cancer?

We often hear from doctors that once you have one diagnosis, you can be at a higher risk of associated conditions. However, PD and Cancer have a physiologically inverse relationship (aka opposite ways they work in the human body). This could mean that those living with PD are at a reduced risk, but it isn’t zero risk, and it only applies to some types of cancers. We can also identify multiple members of our community who have had to or are currently navigating the challenge of not only PD but also cancer – presenting a new battle of information finding, treatment decisions, and overwhelming emotions. Lastly, we know that environmental influences have been linked to both diseases.

Many studies show a reduced risk of colon, rectal, colorectal, and lung cancer. However, there is an increased risk of melanoma (a type of skin cancer), brain, thyroid gland, kidney, uterus, and breast cancer.

As U-Turn Parkinson’s tries to do with PD; we communicate from a place of positivity and hope, providing information and programs to empower our community… so we want to share that the same programs that benefit your PD can also decrease the risk of some cancers and share that exercise can also be beneficial during cancer treatment. 

Exercise and Cancer

There is strong evidence that higher levels of physical activity are linked to lower risk of several types of cancer: 

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney (renal cell) cancer
  • Stomach (gastric) cancer

At least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day that gets your heart going can make a difference!

Research findings have raised the possibility that physical activity may have beneficial effects on survival for patients with breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. 

There is also evidence that for most people exercise is safe and helpful before, during, and after cancer treatment. It can help improve your quality of life and energy. Physical activity may also help you cope with the side effects of treatment and possibly decrease your risk of new cancers in the future. It can: 

  • Help your body and brain work better
  • Reduce feeling tired (fatigue)
  • Help lessen depression and anxiety
  • Could help you sleep better
  • Keep or improve your physical ability to get things done
  • Improve your muscle strength, bone health and range of motion
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Increase your appetite
  • Help you get to and maintain a healthy weight
  • Could help with breast cancer-related lymphedema (and does not increase risk)
  • Decrease the chance that some types of cancer will come back
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Reduce treatment side effects

So, we invite our current and prospective members to join us, not only for the benefits as they relate to PD but also to avoid a connection we do not want to make with cancer!

“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” — Stuart Scott. Live your life by your own terms, not cancer’s.


Ejma M, Madetko N, Brzecka A, Guranski K, Alster P, Misiuk-Hojło M, Somasundaram SG, Kirkland CE, Aliev G. The Links between Parkinson’s Disease and Cancer. Biomedicines. 2020 Oct 14;8(10):416. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines8100416. PMID: 33066407; PMCID: PMC7602272. 

Lee JYS, Ng JH, Saffari SE, Tan EK. Parkinson’s disease and cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis on the influence of lifestyle habits, genetic variants, and gender. Aging (Albany NY). 2022 Mar 5;14(5):2148-2173. doi: 10.18632/aging.203932. Epub 2022 Mar 5. PMID: 35247252; PMCID: PMC8954974.,was%20associated%20with%20reduced%20risks. 

The National Cancer Institute – Physical Activity and Cancer 

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – Physical Activity and Cancer. 

American Cancer Society – Physical Activity and the Person with Cancer 

Canadian Cancer Society – Physical activity can protect you from which types of cancer?