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What Can Exercise do to Help with Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. It is more common in older men, with over 63% of cases diagnosed in men over 65 years of age. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 95%.

Early prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include:

  • frequent urination
  • pain while urinating
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • reduced stream pressure
  • pain in the back or pelvis
  • weak lower limbs.

Exercise plays a role in the treatment of, and recovery from, prostate cancer, by reducing the number and severity of treatment-related side effects and symptoms (such as fatigue, muscle loss, and anxiety and depression), as well as improving or maintaining function during and after treatment. There is also evidence that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have reduced risk of recurrence, reduced risk of developing other chronic diseases and have better overall survival. 

Current guidelines recommend completing up to 150 minutes of exercise each week, which can be done in sessions as short as 10 minutes and should include either or both aerobic-based exercise and resistance-based exercise, targeting all major muscle groups. It is best to spread exercise sessions out across the week (e.g. 30 minutes on 5 days of the week). However, depending on the intensity of the resistance-based exercise, it may be necessary to avoid doing resistance-based exercise on consecutive days. Additional benefits may be gained by exercising for up to 300 minutes each week, but it is important to gradually progress towards this.

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