News ID: 134789
Published: 0315 GMT January 11, 2016

Exercise could work as treatment for prostate cancer

Exercise could work as treatment for prostate cancer

A newly-launched Cancer Research UK study could be the first step towards exercise training being introduced as a new treatment for prostate cancer.

The study, led by Sheffield Hallam University, will focus on 50 men who have the disease, but whose cancer has not spread. Half of the men in the study will carry out two-and-a-half hours of aerobic exercise every week for 12 months, initially with the support of a qualified trainer and then with free access to local gyms. The other half will be given information about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients but will have no supervised sessions, EurekAlert said.

Prostate cancer that has not spread is sometimes treated with surgery or radiotherapy. But this can have side-effects so many men opt for active surveillance instead, which involves monitoring the disease. All the men in the study are and will remain on active surveillance, and they will also be closely monitored as part of the study itself.

If the participants can successfully keep up their exercise regime for 12 months, the study is expected to lead to a full-scale trial to look at the potential benefits of combining active surveillance and exercise for some prostate cancer patients.

This trial, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, would aim to test whether regular exercise can help keep prostate cancer from spreading to other parts of the body and could be a viable treatment.

Study leader Dr. Liam Bourke, principal research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, said, "Evidence suggests that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have better cancer survival than men who aren't active. It's not clear yet how this works, but it might be that exercise affects the way some genes regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair.

"The clinical academic team in Sheffield has been working hard for eight years to develop the intervention that is being tested in this exciting study. It builds on what we already know and is the first step towards finding out whether exercise could be an effective and practical treatment for localized prostate cancer. If we show it works and is feasible, it could be real leap forward and good news for cancer patients."


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