Here's some good news for men who have been treated for prostate cancer: brisk walking - at a pace of three miles per hour - seems to lower the risk of disease progression and the need for additional treatment. This finding comes from a study of 1,455 men who had localized prostate cancer. The original investigation was conducted from 2004 to 2009, and the men's average age when their cancer was diagnosed was 65. The analysis showed that men who walked three or more hours a week at a brisk pace had a 57 percent lower risk of prostate cancer progression when compared to men who walked less than three hours a week and who walked at a slower pace. The participants reported their physical activity by questionnaire about 27 months after they were diagnosed to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco. The new analysis was published in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research.
My take? We already knew that regular aerobic exercise is associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer in the first place, so it's good to hear that exercise (in this case, brisk walking) makes a difference for men who have been treated for the disease. This finding makes sense to me: several years ago studies showed that brisk walking improved breast cancer survival rates among women who walked as little as an hour a week at a pace of 2 to 2.9 miles per hour. Better yet, women who had had breast cancer and walked three to five hours a week had a risk of death that was 50 percent lower than breast cancer patients who performed little or no exercise. The message from these studies is clear: get moving!