For weight control and good health – including cancer prevention – you likely know that physical activity is a good thing. What is less well known is how physical activity can help cancer survivors. But increasingly, it appears that it does.
The study found that men who walked briskly for three hours per week after their prostate cancer diagnoses had a lower risk of cancer progression.
It was published in Cancer Research, and you can read the abstract here.
Earlier this year, this same group of researchers found that activity after diagnosis reduced disease-related mortality in men with a certain type of prostate cancer. This new study focused on the effect of physical activity after diagnosis on early indicators of disease progression, such as a rise in PSA blood levels, along with treatment type, recurrence, and metastasis.
The study analyzed data from 1,455 men who were part of a nationwide prostate cancer registry study. Every 6 months the men filled out questionnaires on their health, then in 2004-5 they answered questions on their activity habits over the past year. The median time from diagnosis to the activity questionnaire was slightly over 2 years.
After another two years of follow-up, the study found that men who walked at least three miles per hour – which they define as briskly – for at least three hours per week had a 57 percent lower rate of progression than men who walked at a slower pace for fewer than three hours weekly. Even men who walked briskly less than three hours per week had a lower risk of progression compared to the slower walkers.
As the authors note, the results are based on a relatively small number of brisk walkers. But the scientific evidence on physical activity helping cancer survivors is building and more studies are sure to come.
This month’s eNews looks at the benefits of physical activity among cancer survivors in general.
The article also can help you find a nearby walking group.