Aerobic Exercise, Resistance Exercise and Prostate Cancer

The third annual Prostate Cancer Symposium may not seem a likely place to hear about aerobic or resistance exercise. However, there was an interesting report proving the value of resistance and aerobic exercise on those undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

Normally, you might expect that it would be better to rest and preserve your strength to fight the cancer. But, researchers found that by doing either aerobic or resistance exercise significantly improves both the aerobic capacity and decreases fatigue. Fatigue is one of the major negative results of radiation therapy.

Roanne Segal, M.D., of the University of Ottawa in Ontario and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Center and her team divided 121 men receiving radiation therapy for prostate cancer into three groups. One group was the control. There was no change in their schedule. One group was given an aerobic exercise program and the third group was given a resistance exercise program. The study lasted twenty six weeks.

Her research team enrolled the 121 men in the 26 week study to determine whether exercise could improve overall quality of life. The men’s mean age was 66. The men were receiving active radiation doses totaling 66 to 76 Gray.

During the study, there were five negative events. One man in the aerobic exercise group had a heart attack during exercise. Another had a fainting spell. In the resistance exercise group, one man had chest pain, one had a urinary obstruction and another had nerve root compression. These incidents do not detract from the positive effects of the exercise. Furthermore, there is no way to directly connect the incidents to the exercise.

The aerobic and resistance exercise groups were found to have improved aerobic capacity and decreased fatigue. In addition the resistance group was found to have significantly improved upper and lower muscle endurance and reduced body fat.

The effect of the study showed that there were no detrimental effects of exercise training on prostate specific antigen, testosterone, or hemoglobin compared with the control group.

This information was distributed courtesy of he Prostate Cancer Symposium, A Multidisciplinary Approach is co-sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Ontology, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology.

Presentation title: Resistance or Aerobic Exercise in Men Receiving Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: a Randomized Trial. Abstract 113

There have also been findings suggestive that aerobic exercise can prevent prostate cancer.

Interest in physical activity as a means for primary prevention of cancer is increasing as the evidence for a protective effect is rapidly accumulating. One recent study reported that when participants exercised aerobically for ~60 minutes a day for 11 days, IGF-1 was reduced by 20% and serum insulin decreased by 25%. However, to date all the studies that have examined the effect of physical activity as a primary means of reducing prostate cancer have been conducted in Caucasians. Therefore, the purpose of this proposal is to determine if 11 days of aerobic exercise will have a positive effect on serum factors that are known to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in African American men.