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Exercise Slashes Risk of Death from Prostate Cancer, Study

Men with prostate cancer who exercise regularly could cut their risk of dying from the disease by more than half, researchers say.

A study of men with prostate cancer found that physical activity was associated with a lower risk of overall mortality and of death due to prostate cancer, and that men who did more vigorous activity had the lowest risk of dying from the disease - cutting the risk by 60 per cent.

The 18-year study looked at 2,705 men diagnosed with the disease, with participants reporting how long they spent doing physical activity each week such as walking, running, swimming, bicycling, and other sports and outdoor work.

The results showed that both non-vigorous and vigorous activity were beneficial for overall survival. Compared with men who walked less than 90 minutes per week at an easy pace, those who walked 90 or more minutes per week at a normal to very brisk pace had a 46% lower risk of dying from any cause.

Only vigorous activity - defined as more than three hours per week - was associated with reduced prostate cancer mortality. Men who did vigorous activity had a 61% lower risk of prostate cancer-specific death compared with men who did less than one hour per week of vigorous activity.

The lead author said:

"Our results suggest that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine,"

"This is good news for men living with prostate cancer who wonder what lifestyle practices to follow to improve cancer survival."

"We observed benefits at very attainable levels of activity and our results suggest that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health, even if it is a small amount, such as 15 minutes of activity per day of walking, jogging, biking or gardening,"

"However, doing vigorous activity for three or more hours per week may be especially beneficial for prostate cancer, as well as overall health."

Research Paper Details:

Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci E, Chan JM. Physical Activity and Survival After prostate cancer Diagnosis in the health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2011.