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Brisk Walking May Help Keep Prostate Cancer in Check

Study Suggests Walking Briskly Reduces Chances That Prostate Cancer Will Get Worse
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Benefits of Physical Activity

The researchers also report that the benefit of physical activity in their study was independent of the participants' age at diagnosis, type of treatment, and clinical features of their disease when first detected.

Chan says she would recommend walking for all men with prostate cancer, but stresses the walking must be brisk and not leisurely.

"Our results suggest that it is important to engage in exercise that gets your heart rate up a bit," she says.

The 1,455 men observed by the researchers had been diagnosed with prostate cancer that had not spread beyond the prostate gland. They reported their physical activity by questionnaire about 27 months after their original diagnosis and before evidence suggested the cancer had recurred or that there may be a need for additional treatment.

The researchers say they recorded 117 events, including elevations of PSA, secondary treatments, bone metastasis, and prostate cancer-specific death.

"The benefit from walking truly depended on how quickly you walked," Richman says. "Walking at any easy pace did not seem to have any benefit."

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men. More than 2.2 million men in the U.S. are living with prostate cancer and 217,000 new cases were reported in 2010. Last year, 32,050 men died from prostate cancer.

Stephen M. Schwartz, PhD, senior editor of Cancer Research and a scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, says the new study is important because research on the role of physical activity in prostate cancer has been somewhat limited.

"We have had some studies that show a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, but this is strong evidence of a benefit after someone is diagnosed," he says in a news release.

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