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6 January 2011
Exercise prolongs life for prostate cancer sufferers
by George Atkinson

Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco, say physical activity is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality and of death due to prostate cancer. Their study, appearing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, also found that men who did more vigorous activity had the lowest risk of dying from the disease.

"Our results suggest that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine," said the study's author, Stacey Kenfield, from Harvard. "This is good news for men living with prostate cancer who wonder what lifestyle practices to follow to improve cancer survival."

The study tracked nearly 3,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer over an 18-year period. The participants reported the average time per week they spent doing physical activity, including walking, running, bicycling, swimming and other sports.

The results showed that both non-vigorous and vigorous activity were beneficial for overall survival. But only vigorous activity - defined as more than three hours per week - was associated with reduced prostate cancer mortality.

Men who did vigorous activity had a 61 percent lower risk of prostate cancer-specific death compared with men who did less than one hour per week of vigorous activity.

"We observed benefits at very attainable levels of activity and our results suggest that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health, even if it is a small amount, such as 15 minutes of activity per day of walking, jogging, biking or gardening," concluded Kenfield.

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Source: Harvard School of Public Health

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