Physical activity improves prostate cancer prognosis

There are various treatments involved in beating back a prostate cancer diagnosis.  Sometimes a man may feel that he is at the mercy of his doctor recommending treatments that can be worrisome possibly resulting in long-term side effects.  However, there is one type of therapy all men should embrace where he is in charge with minimal if any side effects – becoming more physically active.

We all know exercise is beneficial for each of us but when faced with a cancer diagnosis, it becomes more personable and relevant than ever.  Prostate cancer patients are no exception. There will be times when it can be difficult to keep active and moving but exercise is very important in the recovery process.

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Evidence is limited but previous studies have suggested that vigorous activity such as brisk walking after a diagnosis of prostate cancer may result in a lower rate of dying from the disease.  It is not known yet if physical activity prior to developing prostate cancer can help lower the risk of contracting it.  But physical activity prior to a cancer diagnosis might be associated with factors that determine the aggressiveness of a prostate cancer tumor.

There is also the association of time spent sitting and the risk of dying from prostate cancer. A large prospective cohort study investigated physical activity of walking only in the absence of other activities and the time spent sitting both before and after a prostate cancer diagnosis in relation to the risk of prostate cancer mortality.

Found was men who increased their physical activity level after a prostate cancer diagnosis had a significant lower risk of dying from the disease compared to men with a minimal amount of activity defined as walking less than one hour each week. 

Similar benefits were found in men who were already physically active prior to a prostate cancer diagnosis.  Men who walked 4-6 hours each week prior to prostate cancer had a significantly lower risk of dying from it.  Men who walked 7 hours or more a week had an even greater reduced risk. 

A Harvard study found that brisk walking prior to prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with more normally shaped blood vessels in prostate tumors.  The normally shaped blood vessels in prostate cancer tumors can inhibit the spread of cancer throughout the body thus lowering the risk of dying from the disease. 

The American Cancer Society recommends that all survivors of prostate cancer achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. 

A physically active lifestyle adopted by all men whether they are a prostate cancer survivor or not can help to either increase the odds of defeating the disease or preventing it to begin with.