When it comes to beating cancer, health experts suggest that you get moving.
Several recent studies have shown that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of breast and colorectal cancer recurrence — when a primary cancer comes back after remission — and an overall longer survival after a cancer diagnosis.
Now, a new Swedish study suggests the same might be true for men with localized prostate cancer.
The study found that among a large group of 4,263 men with localized prostate cancer, those who engaged in higher levels of physical activity had lower rates of overall mortality and lower rates of prostate cancer-specific mortality.
The study was published on December 19, 2014, in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
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, according to the study.
For survivors in the study group 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, said Stephanie Bonn, MSc, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Bonn is involved with the study.
Study participants were all in the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden Follow-up Study, a retrospective, nationwide cohort study of men diagnosed from 1997 to 2002 with localized prostate cancer and who were still alive in 2007.
Bonn and colleagues followed participants until 2012.
Researchers believe that the study results are generalizable on the population level, but caution that men with the most aggressive disease were not included in the study.
The study results are encouraging for men with localized prostate cancer, researchers said, however an individual’s survival depends on many factors.
Nevertheless, for people with cancer physical activity is one factor that individuals can modify, Bonn said.
“Hopefully, our study can motivate men to be physically active even after a prostate cancer diagnosis,” she said in a statement.
American Cancer Society. New Healthy Living Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. Coleen Doyle, MS RD. April 26, 2012. Accessed 12/18/14 online:
ACA News. Physical Activity Improves Survival for Men with Localized Prostate Cancer. Jeremy Moore. 19 Dec. 2014
Bonn Stephanie E. et al. Physical Activity and Survival among Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Published OnlineFirst December 19, 2014; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0707
Abstract at: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/26/1055-9965.EPI-14-0707.abstract
Reviewed Dec 19, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith