Getting Active Against Prostate Cancer
A new study finds that physical activity lowers the likelihood of death in men with localized prostate cancer.
Physical activity significantly lowers the risk of death from prostate cancer that has not spread from the gland, a large Swedish study has found.
Researchers tracked a large group of Swedish men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and reported that those who engaged in higher levels of physical activity had lower rates of overall mortality and lower rates of prostate cancer-specific mortality, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
“Our results extend the known benefits of physical activity to include prostate cancer-specific survival,” said Stephanie Bonn, MSc, a doctoral candidate in the
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. “However, it is important to remember that our results are on a group level. An individual’s survival depends on many factors, but physical activity is one factor that individuals can modify. Hopefully, our study can motivate men to be physically active even after a prostate cancer diagnosis.”
Bonn and her colleagues analyzed data from 4,623 men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from 1997 to 2002 and followed until 2012. Localized prostate cancer is cancer that has not spread from the prostate gland to other parts of the body.
Participants in the study were all men in the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden Follow-up Study, a retrospective, nationwide cohort study of men with localized prostate cancer who were alive in 2007. A limitation of the study is that men with more aggressive forms of the disease may have died prior to 2007 and therefore were not included in the analysis.
Men with localized prostate cancer who walked or cycled for 20 or more minutes a day had a 30 percent decreased risk of death from any cause (overall mortality) and a 39 percent decreased risk of death as a result of their disease (prostate cancer-specific mortality) compared with those who walked or cycled less. For those who engaged in one or more hours of exercise per week, overall and prostate cancer-specific mortality rates were decreased by 26 percent and 32 percent, respectively, compared with less active counterparts.
“Nearly all men in Sweden who were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from Jan. 1, 1997, to Dec. 31, 2002, were included in the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden Follow-up Study,” Bonn said. “This means our results are generalizable on the population level. However, our data came only from men who were still alive in 2007, which most likely excludes men with more aggressive disease.”