Exercise reduces death rate in prostate cancer patients.

14 January 2010


At the American Association for Cancer Research's December conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research a study was presented that showed that mortality rates in prostate cancer patients could be reduced with as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day.

Focusing on 2,686 patients enrolled in the Health Professions Follow-up Study researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health assessed their physical activity levels both before and after diagnosis (men with metastases at diagnosis were excluded).

Men who participated in three of more hours of Metabolic Equivalent Tasks (MTE) per week — the equivalent of jogging, biking, swimming or playing tennis for about 30 minutes per week — were found to have a 35% lower risk of overall mortality.

Men who walked for four or more hours a week had a 23% lower chance of mortality compared to men who walked for less than 20 minutes per week. And 90 minutes of walking at a brisk pace reduced the probability of mortality by 51% from those who walked for less than 90 minutes at a casual pace. However, it should be noted that walking did not affect prostate cancer specific mortality.

Stacey A. Kenfield, Sc.D., lead author of the study, said that researchers aren't sure of the exact molecular effects exercise has on prostate caner, but exercise is known to influence a number of hormones thought to stimulate prostate caner, boost immune function and reduce inflammation. She stated that while studies are still in progress to determine "how these factors may work together to affect prostate cancer biologically…for now, our data indicate that for prostate cancer survivors, a moderate amount of regular exercise may improve overall survival, while five or more hours per week of vigorous exercise may decrease the death rate due to prostate cancer specifically."