MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate cancer patients who
take brisk walks on a regular basis fare better than those who
don't, a new study suggests.
They not only lower their risk for disease progression, they
lower their chances of dying from the disease, the researchers
The finding builds on earlier research from the same group of
scientists that had indicated that "vigorous physical activity"
reduces the risk of dying from prostate cancer.
"Men who engaged in brisk walking, defined as three miles per hour or faster, after a diagnosis of clinically localized prostate cancer, had a reduced risk of prostate cancer progression compared to men who walked at an easy pace [less than two miles per hour]," said study author Erin L. Richman, a research associate in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.
"Men who engaged in three hours per week or more of brisk walking had the greatest benefit," Richman added, "with a 57 percent lower risk of disease progression compared to men who walked less than three hours per week at an easy pace. These results were independent of clinical prognostic factors, dietary factors and lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking."
Richman's report appears in the June 1 issue of
The study authors pointed out that about 2.2 million men now
struggle with a prostate cancer diagnosis in the United States, and
the disease is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among
American men. In 2010, approximately 217,000 new cases were
To explore how lifestyle might impact disease progression
following a diagnosis, the study team focused on 1,455 prostate
cancer patients who were enrolled at one of 40 urology clinics in
2004 and 2005.
At the time the study launched, all the men had localized
cancer, meaning that their disease had not yet spread beyond the
All the men completed a survey to assess their physical activity
routines. Richman noted that most of the men had initially
undergone "curative therapy," including radical prostactectomy
and/or radiation treatment.
The researchers observed that walking accounted for about half
of all the physical activity exerted by the patients, and that
those who were observed to walk in a so-called "brisk" manner
tended to be younger and more fit than those who walked more
slowly. Brisk walkers were also less likely to smoke.
By stacking up exercise regimens against telltale signs of
disease progression (such as PSA levels, the spread of the disease,
and/or death), the research team found that patients who walked
briskly for a minimum of three hours per week had a significantly
lower rate of disease progression (57 percent lower) than those who
walked at an easy pace for less than three hours per week.
In fact, the pace of walking seemed to be more important than
the amount of time spent walking. Walking at an easy pace conferred
no particular protective benefit against prostate cancer
Richman's team cautioned that more research is needed to confirm
the findings. She also suggested that other types of exercise might
also prove helpful.
Dr. Lionel L. Banez, an assistant professor in the division of
urologic surgery in the department of surgery at Duke University
Medical Center, agreed that further research might find that other
forms of exercise convey a similar protection.
"It is very reasonable to extrapolate these findings to include other forms of physical activity," he noted. "Our own previous study did show that moderate exercise, which included various forms of physical activity, was associated with lower risk for aggressive prostate cancer among veterans."
There's more on prostate cancer at the
American Cancer Society.
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