Why exercise is key for men with prostate cancer

According to the Australian Institute of Welfare, Prostate Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among men while also being the 3rd leading cause of death among cancers. The prostate is the gland in males responsible for secreting seminal fluid which is essential for sustaining the sperm towards a better chance of fertilisation. However, cells within the prostate can often grow irregularly which results in the development of prostate cancer.

fiona-smallwood-1221402-unsplash.jpg

 Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • Issues with Waste excretion:

·   Urine accompanied with blood (haematuria)

·   Painful urination (Dysuria)

·   Frequent urination, often at night (Nocturia)

·   Weak stream

·   Difficulty relieving faeces or urine

  • Issues with sexual function

·   Erectile dysfunction

·   Painful ejaculation

·   Blood in semen

  • Bone Pain

·   If the cancer spreads (metastasis), it is common to experience bone pain in the spine, pelvis or ribs

·   If it spreads to the spine, it is common to experience muscle weakness and altered sensation

tessa-rampersad-493843-unsplash.jpg

Why should prostate patients exercise? Exercising is highly beneficial during cancer treatment and in the rehabilitation process post treatment.

During Prostate Cancer Treatment:

Studies have shown compelling evidence for the case of exercise in cancer patients in general. Here are 3 reasons why:

1.      Patients who are more physically active are able to tolerate the side effects of treatments such as  radiotherapy and chemotherapy, thus increasing their survival rates.

2.      Exercise has been proven to be  effective in improving mental health in patients. Prostate cancer patients experience drastic changes that are can be demoralising and upsetting. Issues with essential daily function such as sexual function, urinary function and loss of strength and fitness can be very difficult. Research has shown that patients engaging in regular exercise experience less severe symptoms of anxiety and depression.

3.      Exercise is essential in mitigating the side effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). ADT involves reducing testosterone levels in the body as there have been indications that the development of cancerous prostate cells are a result of high testosterone. While this treatment is often very effective in treating prostate cancer, it has significant side effects, which include; sexual dysfunction, bone mineral density loss, reduced muscle strength, mood disorders and  cognitive dysfunction.  A 2018 review of studies in the effect of exercise in patients taking ADT showed incredibly favourable results where patients experienced significant improvements in:  
- aerobic fitness
- bone strength
- muscular strength
- body composition
- fatigue
- sexual health
- mental health
- cognitive function
- chronic disease risk factors
- quality of life

These patients participated in light to moderate resistance and aerobic exercise and did not affect the efficacy of their ADT treatment and did not experience significant adverse events.

roya-ann-miller-325259-unsplash.jpg

After Prostate Cancer Treatment:

The most prevalent issue in prostate cancer patients after a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) is urinary incontinence. After the prostate is removed, it is common for pelvic floor weakness to occur, which can cause incontinence. However, seeing a men’s health physiotherapist can be highly beneficial in restoring urinary function and reducing the impact of incontinence. They will prescribe specific pelvic floor exercises which can contribute to not only better urinary function, but sexual function as well.

 

 

While exercise is so beneficial for prostate cancer patients, it is often complicated and daunting to begin exercising without expert help. Here at Balanced Bodies Lifestyle Clinic, we apply evidenced based , expert care to help you overcome the challenges concerning your condition and exercise. For more information, feel free to contact us on 8969 6300 or info@bblifestyleclinic.com.au