Exercise now proven to have mental health benefits for prostate cancer

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New Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has found that exercise not only has physical benefits for men with prostate cancer, it also helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Up to one in four men experience anxiety either before or after prostate cancer treatment and up to one in five report depression, although few men access the support they need.

The study, published in the Nature journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, is the first randomised controlled trial to examine the long-term effects of different exercise on psychological distress in men with prostate cancer undergoing androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).

Researchers randomly selected 135 prostate cancer patients aged 43-90 years on ADT to receive either twice weekly supervised resistance exercise or aerobic exercise for 12 months.

Their levels of psychological distress were measured during that time.

Key findings:

  • Exercise helps men with prostate cancer to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Men with the highest levels of psychological distress improved the most.
  • Either exercise mode (resistance/aerobic) at moderate to high intensity works.
  • Supervised exercise is better than unsupervised.

Director of the ECU Exercise Medicine Research Institute Professor Daniel Galvão said the study’s findings have immediate applications for people living with prostate cancer.

“We now have the data to support the long-term effect of different exercise modes on psychological distress in men with prostate cancer undertaking ADT,” Professor Galvão said.

“Whether you do aerobic exercise or resistance exercise it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s at moderate to high intensity, it’s beneficial for reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

“We know that exercise benefits people with cancer. Getting a prescribed exercise program is as simple as a referral from a GP to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist,” Professor Galvão said.



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The ONA Editor curates oncology news, views and reviews from Australia and around the world for our readers. In aggregated content, original sources will be acknowledged in the article footer.

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