While it’s easy to see the obvious benefits exercise has on the body, it may be hard to imagine the positive effects it could have on the prostate.
A newly-launched study could be the first step towards exercise training being introduced as a treatment for prostate cancer.
Sheffield Hallam University, backed by the Cancer Research UK, will focus on 50 men who have the disease, but whose cancer has not spread.
To test their theory, half of the men in the study will have weekly supervised exercise sessions for 12 months, while the other half will be given information on the benefits of exercise associated with cancer patients.
The men will be monitored closely and their blood checked regularly for levels of a protein called PSA, which can help show if prostate cancer is growing or spreading.
This trial, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, will aim to test whether regular exercise can help keep prostate cancer from spreading to other parts of the body and could be a viable NHS 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.
“If we show it works and is feasible, it could be a real leap forward and good news for cancer patients.”
David Curtis (68) from Sheffield was diagnosed with early prostate cancer in March 2014 and has been exercising as part of the study for several weeks, “I was never someone to go to the gym, even though I’ve always been active, but now I go to the gym twice a week and do lots of walking. Since starting on the study, I’ve started to lose weight and my PSA level has come down which is a really positive indicator.
“I feel privileged to be on the study and pleased to be part of any research which might be useful to others.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death.