Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer type affecting men in Western nations, with an estimated 1.2 million cases annually worldwide, according to the Global Cancer Observatory’s GLOBOCAN 2018 database.
Previous studies have reviewed the effect of exercise on men diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, most have focused exclusively on patient reported outcomes, cardiovascular health for men on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or the effects of resistance exercise.
New study explores effects of exercise in men with prostate cancer
A new systematic review and meta-analysis study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, wanted to offer an updated systematic review looking at the effects of exercise interventions on a man’s quality of life and metabolic health diagnosed with prostate cancer. The aim was to see if the men experienced a positive effect in improving their metabolic health and quality of life.
Even though progress in screening and treatment has increased survival rates for men with prostate cancer, there can still be severe adverse effects on their physical and mental health including an increased risk for metabolic disease and a reduced quality of life. It’s been found that many of these adverse effects are related to treatments used for their cancer.
For instance, men who are diagnosed with a localized cancer are offered treatments such as surgery or radiation. But for men whose prostate cancer are found and have already metastasized or spread beyond the prostate gland, they are usually treated with androgen deprivation therapy, androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSI), or chemotherapy. It is estimated that 50% of men with prostate cancer will receive ADT or ARSI at some time during their treatment. These men, especially those treated with ARSI, are more likely to develop metabolic condition such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, abdominal obesity, or bone loss that can lead to osteopenia, osteoporosis, or bone fractures.
The aim of this study was to examine if different exercise interventions had different effects on a man’s quality of life and metabolic health. The researchers chose to stratify exercise interventions into aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, or a combination of the two.
Researchers included all randomized controlled trials along with a systematic search that began in August 2020 that identified literature from databases such as MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and others.
What the findings showed was that the choice of exercise – aerobic, resistance training, or a combination of both – may be important when targeting physiological outcomes. Specifically found was that aerobic exercise, not surprisingly, was superior in improving cardiovascular fitness while resistance exercise appeared superior in improving lower body strength and lean body mass.
In summary, the results of this study suggest that men with prostate cancer can benefit from exercise, particularly aerobic, resistance training, or a combination of both. Exercise for these men had positive effects on their metabolic health, specifically increased cardiovascular fitness, and reduced whole-body fat mass and blood pressure. It also showed that exercise appeared to have a small positive effect on cancer-specific quality of life and fatigue.
These results should help guide clinicians on encouraging men with prostate cancer to use exercise as a complementary benefit to prostate cancer treatment that may mitigate the development of metabolic disease. This would possibly help lower a man’s risk of developing diseases of metabolic syndrome such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and others as they go through their treatment for prostate cancer.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911.