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New study advocates exercise to improve prostate cancer outcomes

3992106452_fbffd3e6b0.jpgMany of the more than 2.2 million men struck with prostate cancer in the U.S. may perk up - and get up to move around - when they hear the results of a study published today in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers, led by UC-San Francisco's Erin Richman, Sc.D., followed men for at least 15 months after a prostate cancer diagnosis, tracking each man's exercise habits and monitoring whether their cancer worsened. The men who engaged in at least 3 hours of vigorous physical activity per week had a 57 percent slower rate of cancer progression to more worrying states than those who exercised less.

Urologist and prostate cancer researcher Joseph Presti, Jr., MD, said he was excited to see that the study had revealed an association between physical activity and better clinical outcomes. He said the findings seemed sound and should inspire further research on the benefits of exercise for men with prostate cancer. But Presti warned that until until such additional studies confirm the current findings, he will be left with some lingering questions about whether exercise is the best explanation of the lower levels of cancer progression.

Presti already urges his Stanford Cancer Center patients to exercise, but primarily to improve their cardiovascular health, a fairly common additional threat to their well-being.

"If the exercise happens to improve their cancer outcomes as well, even better," he said.

Photo by Dominic Alves

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