Maintaining a regular exercise regimen may improve the odds of surviving prostate cancer, a team of researchers have found.

Prostate cancer patients should maintain a moderate to high level of physical activity to improve their survival prognosis, the American Cancer Society recommends as a result of its study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans on April 25.

The study involved more than 10,000 men between the ages of 50 and 93 years old. They were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from 1992 to 2011. This means that their cancer has not spread to other tissues in the body.

Patients who were part of the study reported both the amount of time spent exercising and the time spent sitting. Moderate to intense exercise included walking, cycling, dancing, aerobics, jogging, running, tennis, lap swimming and racquetball.

To measure the rate of exercise done by the participants, the researchers measured the metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per week of activity. The men's activity were assessed priot to receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer and after they were diagnosed.

The participants who exercised the most before their diagnosis have a 30 percent reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer compared with those who engaged the least in physical activities.

Even after diagnosis, exercise offered bigger benefits to prostate cancer patients. The men who exercised more were at a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer than those who did the least exercise, the researchers found.

The health agency recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

Since 40 percent of the men reported that walking is their only form of exercis, the researchers evaluated if this form of exercise would benefit the survival rate of patients with prostate cancer.

They have found that walking for about four to six hours per week prior to being diagnosed was linked to a 33 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer specific mortality (PCSM). After diagnosis, walking for seven or more hours per week was linked to a 37 percent reduced risk.

Photo: Cam Evans | Flickr 

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