Cancer Research UK has launched what is believed to be the first-ever study to determine whether exercise training should be used as a front-line treatment against prostate cancer.
The study, led by Sheffield Hallam University, will track the impact of exercise on 50 men who have the disease, but whose cancer has not spread to other parts of their bodies, Medical Xpress
Half of the men will engage in 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise every week for 12 months; the others will be given information about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients but will have no supervised sessions.
Prostate cancer that has not spread is sometimes untreated while patients undergo what is called “active surveillance,” which involves monitoring the disease to be sure it does not spread. All the men in the study are and will remain on active surveillance — and will also be closely monitored as part of the study itself.
If the participants can successfully keep up their exercise regime for 12 months, the study is expected to lead to a full-scale trial to look at the potential benefits of combining active surveillance and exercise for some prostate cancer patients.
Researchers believe the initiative will determine whether regular exercise can help keep prostate cancer from spreading to other parts of the body and could be a viable standard treatment.
“Evidence suggests that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have better cancer survival than men who aren't active,” explained lead researcher Dr. Liam Bourke. “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.
"The clinical academic team in Sheffield have been working hard for 8 years to develop the intervention that is being tested in this exciting study. It builds on what we already know and is the first step towards finding out whether exercise could be an effective and practical NHS treatment for localized prostate cancer. If we show it works and is feasible, it could be a real leap forward and good news for cancer patients."
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