You’ve heard that exercise lowers prostate cancer risk, but which specific exercises are the best choice for slashing risk of prostate cancer?
It looks as though there is strong evidence that exercise cuts the risk of developing prostate cancer, which kills about 30,000 U.S. men every year. A relatively recent study involved 190 men. The study subjects had biopsies to see if they might have prostate cancer, and it turns out that the men who exercised on a regular basis were less likely to receive the alarming diagnosis.
This study showed that moderate level exercise was the key factor. This equates to at least three hours a week of brisk walking. Such men were about 66 percent less likely than their non-exercising counterparts to be diagnosed with cancer of the prostate.
But there’s more. The men who had the prostate cancer were evaluated for exercise habits, and the men who reported that they engaged in just 60 minutes of walking per week, were actually less likely to have an aggressive form of the disease.
The researchers speculate that exercise lowers cancer prostate risk possibly because being active suppresses levels of hormones that help facilitate the growth of prostate cancer cells. Another idea is that exercise boosts immune function. Despite these findings, the researches emphasize that the study does not prove that prostate cancer risk is decreased with exercise.
“It is impossible to state that exercise alone was responsible for the benefits we observed because participants who exercised might also have engaged in other behaviors linked to better health, like adhering to good diet,” says Dr. Jodi A. Antonelli from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
It would have been very interesting to see what kind of results turned up if the study was adjusted for the variables of “good diet,” smoking, drinking and sleep habits, all of which are influenced by the health-consciousness of an individual.
A man who sticks to a brisk walking program (or comparable exercise) is far less likely to smoke, and far more likely to avoid junky foods, than a man who never exercises. He also is more likely to sleep better, too. Sleep quality affects immune function.
The study showed prostate cancer in 79 of the men. Even though lifestyle-related variables were not factored into the study, other variables were adjusted for, such as body weight, age, race and other medical conditions. More investigation is necessary into the association between exercise and lowering the risk of prostate cancer. Nevertheless, the results of this study are nothing to sneeze at.
Source: Journal of Urology, online September 16, 2009.