Exercise may lower risk of death for men with prostate cancer

January 5, 2011, Harvard School of Public Health

A new study of men with prostate cancer finds that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality and of death due to prostate cancer. The Harvard School of Public Health and University of California, San Francisco researchers also found that men who did more vigorous activity had the lowest risk of dying from the disease. It is the first study in men with prostate cancer to evaluate physical activity after diagnosis in relation to prostate cancer-specific mortality and overall mortality.

The study appears in an advance online edition of the Journal of Clinical .

"Our results suggest that men can reduce their risk of progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine," said Stacey Kenfield, lead author of the study and a Harvard School of Public Health researcher. "This is good news for men living with prostate cancer who wonder what lifestyle practices to follow to improve cancer survival."

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer among men in the United States and affects one in six U.S. men during their lifetime. More than 2 million men in the U.S. and 16 million men worldwide are prostate cancer survivors.

The study was conducted in 2,705 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study over an 18-year period. The participants reported the average time per week they spent doing physical activity, including walking, running, bicycling, swimming and other sports and outdoor work.

The results showed that both non-vigorous and vigorous activity were beneficial for overall survival. Compared with men who walked less than 90 minutes per week at an easy pace, those who walked 90 or more minutes per week at a normal to very brisk pace had a 46% lower risk of dying from any cause.

Only vigorous activity—defined as more than three hours per week—was associated with reduced prostate cancer mortality. Men who did vigorous activity had a 61% lower risk of prostate cancer-specific death compared with men who did less than one hour per week of vigorous activity.

"We observed benefits at very attainable levels of activity and our results suggest that men with prostate cancer should do some for their overall health, even if it is a small amount, such as 15 minutes of activity per day of walking, jogging, biking or gardening," said Kenfield. "However, doing for three or more hours per week may be especially beneficial for prostate cancer, as well as overall health," she said.

More information: "Physical Activity and Survival After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study," Stacey A. Kenfield, Meir J. Stampfer, Edward Giovannucci, June M. Chan, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online January 4, 2011.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

February 23, 2018
Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin's theory—are the means ...

Researchers use a molecular Trojan horse to deliver chemotherapeutic drug to cancer cells

February 23, 2018
A research team at the University of California, Riverside has discovered a way for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel to target migrating, or circulating, cancer cells, which are responsible for the development of tumor metastases.

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

February 23, 2018
Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient's tumour could help doctors tailor treatment, according to new research.

An under-the-radar immune cell shows potential in fight against cancer

February 23, 2018
One of the rarest of immune cells, unknown to scientists a decade ago, might prove to be a potent weapon in stopping cancer from spreading in the body, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Putting black skin cancer to sleep—for good

February 22, 2018
An international research team has succeeded in stopping the growth of malignant melanoma by reactivating a protective mechanism that prevents tumor cells from dividing. The team used chemical agents to block the enzymes ...

Cancer risk associated with key epigenetic changes occurring through normal aging process

February 22, 2018
Some scientists have hypothesized that tumor-promoting changes in cells during cancer development—particularly an epigenetic change involving DNA methylation—arise from rogue cells escaping a natural cell deterioration ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.