Prostate Cancer ‘How Can Exercise help?’

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death [1]. Further to this, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85 [1]. With this cancer being so prevalent in men in Australia, how can exercise help? Studies have shown that completing physical activity can on average, reduce the risk of prostate cancer by between 10 – 30% [2]. However, unfortunately once diagnosed with prostate cancer the treatment that is used can have a multitude of effects ranging from physical to mental.
One of the treatments for prostate cancer is Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) which is used to shrink the cancer and slow its growth. With its range of side effects, those going through ADT can use exercise to manage and reduce them. Exercise can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, diabetes or a heart attack [3]. Furthermore, strength training can help with the bone loss that is experienced during ADT with those who go through the therapy having a 5 to 10 fold loss of bone mineral density compared to healthy men [4]. There is also the risk of falls, with those over 70 years old showing a nearly 10% increase in rate of falls when compared to the general population in the same age group [5].
With all these different side effects of ADT, what is the recommended exercise to help reduce these effects? Resistance and aerobic at least twice a week for at least twelve weeks has shown improvements in muscular strength, function, body composition and reduced fatigue. Overall quality of life improved too. It is important that your exercise is tailored to your specific condition and goals and therefore, we recommend seeking assistance from an expert. Talk to your local Exercise Physiologist to see how they can help yourself or someone you know with prostate cancer to see all the amazing benefits exercise can provide.

Matthew Byrne – Exercise Physiologist

2. Tori & Matheson. Sports med. 2004;34(6) 363 – 9.
3. Keating et al, JCO (2006).
4. Higano, C. nat Clin prac urol. 2008;5: 24-34
5. Bylow et al urology 2008;72:422-427