Prostate cancer is a slow growing tumor that affects millions of American men. More than 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors. There are 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer discovered each year. Although more than 80% of prostate cancer patients are diagnosed with cancer confined to the prostate gland, the relative 10-year survival rate is 93% for all men regardless of how far advanced is the cancer. Most men are interested in finding out what they can do to prevent prostate cancer. This blog will discuss how exercise may help prevent prostate cancer.
There is new evidence that obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer and, more importantly, regular exercise decreases the risk of prostate cancer. Studies of exercise and prostate cancer risk have mostly shown that men who exercise may have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Exercise has many other health benefits and may reduce your risk of heart disease and other cancers. Exercise can help you maintain your weight, or it can help you lose weight.
A study performed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined the records of 2,705 men who had been diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer over 18-years. The men in the study reported the time they spent exercising on a weekly basis. This included running, bicycling, walking, swimming, other sports, and even outdoor work. Men who reported vigorous activity for at least three hours per week had a 61% lower risk of a prostate cancer-specific death, compared with men who exercised for less than an hour per week.
The results of this study suggests that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine.
A little is better than none
The researchers observed benefits at very attainable levels of activity and that the study suggests that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health, even if it is a small amount, such as 15 minutes of activity per day of walking, jogging, biking, or mowing the law\gardening.
There is good evidence that doing vigorous activity for three or more hours per week may be especially beneficial for prostate cancer, as well as overall health. The research shows a significant risk reduction for prostate cancer mortality with increasing vigorous activity.
The study is published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Decreased physical activity, which may be the result of the cancer itself or the treatment, can lead to tiredness and lack of energy. Regular, moderate exercise can decrease these feelings, help you stay active, and increase your energy. Even during cancer therapy, it is often possible to continue exercising.
If you don’t already exercise, make an appointment with your doctor to see if it’s OK for you to get started. When you begin exercising, go slowly. Add physical activity to your day by parking your car farther away from where you’re going, and try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Risk of prostate cancer is higher in men who are African American descent or who have a father, brother, uncle, or close relative with prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk. Some men have an increased risk of prostate cancer. For those with a very high risk of prostate cancer, there may be other options for risk reduction, such as medications.
Bottom Line: Prostate cancer is a common malignancy that affects millions of American men. There are risks of increasing prostate cancer and steps you can take like improving your diet and increasing your exercise level that will decrease the risk of prostate cancer.