Why Is Exercise Valuable for Surviving Prostate Cancer?

by | Jun 28, 2024 | Company News


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If you’re a prostate cancer patient, you’ve likely heard how helpful fitness is for your health. However, did you know physical fitness can help you manage the side effects of treatment? How about the best type of exercise for prostate cancer survivors? Keep reading to find out.

In a Managing Prostate Cancer Survivorship webinar, PHEN’s Director of Clinical Trials and Patient Education Dr. Keith Crawford explained why prostate cancer patients should exercise. First, physical activity lessens the side effects of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which is a type of hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer.

The side effects of ADT include loss of muscle mass and a rise in body fat. However, exercise can combat these issues, said Dr. Crawford. In addition, he explained that physical fitness strengthens the immune system, which fights and kills cancer cells.

Prostate Health

Dong-Woo Kang, PhD

During the webinar, Dr. Dong-Woo Kang, an instructor from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discussed several clinical trials showing the benefits of exercise for prostate cancer patients. One trial focused on patients who were on ADT treatment, which can cause weight gain and muscle loss (Lopez et al. 2020. MSSE). However, after four to six months of resistance training, the subjects gained 0.5 kilograms of muscle mass on average. They also saw a reduction in fat mass, explained Dr. Kang.  


Prostate Health

Mr. William Thompson

Prostate cancer survivor Mr. William Thompson also shared his experience during the webinar, explaining how exercise made a difference in his survival. Mr. Thompson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and began ADT treatment soon after. He immediately made drastic changes to his diet and fitness routine, including a daily three-mile hike and weightlifting. These lifestyle changes made an impact and helped him survive this disease.

Research shows exercise benefits prostate cancer patients, but which type of physical activities should you pursue? According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, aerobic exercises and strength training are advantageous. Aerobic exercises can be as simple as walking, dancing, or gardening. Strength training exercises include push-ups, planks, squats, and using a dumbbell to do bicep curls, single-arm rows, or lateral raises.

Before you start exercising when undergoing prostate cancer treatment, consider your energy level and what weight-bearing equipment you can handle. Consult your physician for advice on a customized fitness program.

Remember: Scientific research backs up the importance of exercise for prostate cancer patients to alleviate the side effects of treatment. This is especially necessary for those undergoing androgen deprivation therapy. Watch PHEN’s webinar to learn more about the benefits of exercise for prostate cancer patients.

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