For all the men out there, in particular, prostate cancer is a widely known form of cancer.
The prostate is a small gland that sits below the bladder. It is similar to the size of a walnut and is part of your reproductive system. The prostate gland produces fluid that helps to feed and protect sperm. Just like many other cancers, prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland start to grow more rapidly than normal cells and in an uncontrolled way. Exercise can help prevent and manage prostate cancer.
Did you know?
Prostate cancer is ranked second in terms of incidence rate among males. Approximately 1.3 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide in 20181.
In Queensland, 3915 were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016, making it the most commonly occurring cancer in males (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer)2. Prostate cancer made up 25 per cent of all male cancers2.
The Benefits of Exercise on Prostate Cancer
So how can an Exercise Physiologist help you. Exercise is an important factor throughout any stage of your cancer journey. Although it is recommended that cancer survivors should obtain at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and 2–3 days of strength training per week, it is an individual experience for each person. Meaning a gradual return to exercise should be the focus.
Exercise during your treatment and after has a huge amount of positive impacts on cancer. These include but not limited to:
- Improve fatigue levels3
- Improve overall quality of life3
- Maintain physical function
- mental health
- Successfully improve the efficiency of oxygen to the cancer therefore any DNA damage can be stabilized and enhance the effect of radiotherapy4
- Particularly moderate aerobic exercise, can impact and improve blood supply and tumoral perfusion to therefore have a greater effect with chemotherapy efficiency to the tumour5,6
- Further improvements in fatigue
- Improve overall quality of life7
- Improve physical function
- Increase muscular strength
- Increase aerobic capacity
- Improved mental health
- In addition, Live a longer healthier life8
Now, as stated before, as Exercise Physiologist’s our prescription may vary and depend on those symptoms from your cancer journey.
But the overwhelming message crying out is that EXERCISE IS KING during treatment and in remission. Especially for long term remission and health.
More specifically, research had the following points to say on Resistance and Cardiovascular training for cancer patients.
- 2-3 sessions/week resistance training demonstrated a large increase in upper/lower limb muscle strength and moderate improvements in lean body mass + body fat percentage. Showing positive effects during treatment and in long term follow up trials.
- Effective repetition ranges of 10-15.
- <75% 1RM
- Targeting major muscle groups
- A modest amount of vigorous activity of 3 hours (just 180 minutes) per week may substantially improve Prostate Cancer-specific complications
- This may include biking, tennis, jogging, or swimming
- A moderate amount of physical activity may also improve overall survival
- Bray, F., Ferlay, J., Soerjomataram, I., Siegel, R. L., Torre, L. A., & Jemal, A. (2018). Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 68(6), 394-424. doi:10.3322/caac.21492
- Queensland Cancer Statistics On-Line. (2019). Viertel Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Council Queensland. Retrieved from https://qcsol.cancerqld.org.au
- Horgan, S., & O’Donovan, A. (2018). The impact of exercise during radiation therapy for prostate cancer on fatigue and quality of life: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 49(2), 207-219. doi:10.1016/j.jmir.2018.02.056
- Jordan, B. F., & Sonveaux, P. (2012). Targeting tumor perfusion and oxygenation to improve the outcome of anticancer therapy. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 3. doi:10.3389/fphar.2012.00094
- Schadler, K. L., Thomas, N. J., Galie, P. A., Bhang, D. H., Roby, K. C., Addai, P., . . . Ryeom, S. (2016). Tumor vessel normalization after aerobic exercise enhances chemotherapeutic efficacy. Oncotarget, 7(40), 65429-65440. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.11748
- McCullough, D. J., Stabley, J. N., Siemann, D. W., & Behnke, B. J. (2014). Modulation of blood flow, hypoxia, and vascular function in orthotopic prostate tumors during exercise. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 106(4). doi:10.1093/jnci/dju036
- Kenfield, S. A., Stampfer, M. J., Giovannucci, E., & Chan, J. M. (2011). Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the health professionals follow-up study. Journal of Urology, 186(3), 903. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2011.05.037
- Friedenreich, C. M., Wang, Q., Neilson, H. K., Kopciuk, K. A., McGregor, S. E., & Courneya, K. S. (2016). Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer. European Urology, 70(4), 576-585. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2015.12.032
- Strasser, B., Steindorf, K., Wiskemann, J., & Ulrich, C. M. (2013). Impact of resistance training in cancer survivors: a meta-analysis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(11), 2080-2090.