Benefits of exercise for prostate cancer survivors

Two recent studies have confirmed the benefits of exercise for men after prostate cancer treatment. One of the studies was carried out in Sweden and the other in USA.

The Swedish study asked men to report their physical activity after the diagnosis of localised prostate cancer. They were asked to document the time they spent walking, cycling, exercising or carrying out household work. Each activity was evaluated in terms of energy expenditure, and the findings indicated that the more exercise the men carried out, there was lower incidence of prostate cancer specific mortality. For those exercising 1 or more hours per week, prostate cancer specific mortality was reduced by 32% compared with those exercising less than 1 hour per week.

Stephanie Bonn, one of the researchers was quoted as saying:   “I would recommend physicians advise men to follow the current recommendations for physical activity that are available and to advise them to be as active as they can be. They need to find an activity that is enjoyable and remember that any physical activity is better than none and is likely to have positive health effects.”

The second study carried out in Chicago, Illinois, reviewed prostate cancer survivors who walked at an easy pace for about 3 hours per week. They found that these men had improved hormone and vitality functioning scores. The researchers were interested to explore the different intensities and types of activity and their effects on prostate cancer survivors, and they were able to prove that not only the hormone/vitality scores improved but fatigue, depression and body weight were also improved. The longer duration and higher intensity activities resulted in better outcomes for men.

“Physical activity has shown significant promise for helping to reduce some the these negative side effects of treatment and improving quality of life and other factors, but the question people always want an answer to is how little do I have to do, rather than how much do I have to do, and we really didn’t know the answer” said Dr Siobhan Phillips.

However, the study demonstrated that even non-vigorous activity, like walking or outdoor gardening was associated with better quality of life. Walking at a normal pace for 3-5 hours per week makes a big difference to how these men felt about themselves and their enjoyment of life.


Journal of Cancer Survivorship, April 16, 2015. Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and health-related quality of life in prostate cancer survivors in the health professionals follow-up study. Siobhan M. Phillips, Meir J. Stampfer, June M. Chan, Edward L. Giovannucci, Stacey A. Kenfield. Retrieved from


Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, December 19, 2014. Physical Activity and Survival among Men Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer .Stephanie E. Bonn, Avid Sjolander, Ylva Trolle Lagerros, Fredik Wiklund, Par Stattin, Erik Holmberg, Henrik Gronberg, Katarina Balter.: Published Online First December 19th 2014; doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0707


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