Not surprising, new research suggests that exercise both before and after prostate cancer diagnosis can maximize your chances of longer survival. What was more interesting was that the exercise of choice was brisk walking, not vigorous running or cycling. According to the researchers who presented their data at the American Association for Cancer Research – Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer Research, men who had a history of walking briskly prior to a prostate cancer diagnosis had more normally shaped blood vessels in their prostate tumors after diagnosis. And based on previous research, studies have shown that men with small, irregularly shaped vessels in their prostate tumor (found in the low to no exercise group) were linked to an increased risk of death. The theory is that a more normally shaped vessel in the prostate tumor may inhibit cancer spread in the body and improve the response rate to anti-cancer therapies.
But what if you have prostate cancer? Don’t despair, exercise can still help. Other studies show significant benefits of exercise for you too. One study showed that men who walked briskly for 90 minutes or more per week lowered their risk of dying from any cause by 46% (compared to men who walked slower and less often). And men who exercised vigorously three or more hours per week had a 61% lower risk of prostate cancer death (compared to men who exercised vigorously less than one hour a week). Another study showed that men diagnosed with cancer who burned approximately 3000 calories or more a week doing physical exercise lower their risk of death from any cause by 50% compared to men who burned 500 calories from exercise. And lastly, research from a UCSF study reported that men who exercised vigorously three hours or more a week showed increases to several genes which are thought to stand in the way of cancer progression.
My recommendation is to keep your blood vessels shapely and burn more calories by taking yourself out for a really fast walk – doctor’s orders!
Dr. Hopkins is a urologist with Pacific Urology. He sub-specializes in cancer of the prostate, kidney and bladder. He also has extensive experience with reconstructive and minimally invasive surgeries. For more information or to schedule an appointment please visit www.pacificurology.com or call 925-937-7740.