A considerable amount of research suggests that routine exercise can reduce the risk of some cancers, including prostate cancer. For persons with cancer, a convincing body of scientific literature describes numerous benefits of exercise throughout all phases and types of treatment. Such benefits include:
Although the exact mechanisms are still undetermined, exciting recent research has shown that exercise is related to fewer cancer-related deaths for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivors.
Exercise is very safe for cancer survivors and several national cancer organizations recommend that cancer survivors should avoid physical inactivity. It is also important to note that exercise has not been shown to worsen cancer or its treatment side effects, and it does not undermine treatment effectiveness. It is recommended that cancer survivors discuss exercise with their oncologist or family doctor before starting an exercise program. It may also be beneficial to consult with an exercise professional with some experience in oncology if you are new to exercise or have some concerns related to an exercise program.
General recommendations for exercise in prostate cancer include moderate intensity aerobic (cardiovascular) and resistance (weight) training on most days per week. Aerobic exercise can be as simple as brisk walking while resistance training can be completed with minimal equipment, such as resistance bands and/or an exercise ball. It is important to incorporate both types of exercise training as they complement each other by providing distinct benefits.
No matter what type of exercise you choose, the key to deriving sustained benefit of exercise is to make exercise a routine part of your lifestyle. The benefits of exercise last only as long as the routine is maintained therefore strategies to keep you exercising are important. Consider setting aside a dedicated time to exercise every day, setting some fitness or exercise-related goals, or maybe personal rewards for routine exercise. Likely the most important aspect of a successful and sustained exercise program is selecting physical activity that you enjoy.
The Survivorship Exercise Program (SEP) is available for men with prostate cancer treated at the Prostate Centre at The Princess Margaret to provide assistance with general exercise questions and concerns or an individualized, home-based exercise program. There are also clinical exercise research studies that men with prostate cancer may be eligible for. See The Survivor Exercise Program for more details regarding the SEP.