Physical Activity Increases Prostate Cancer Survival

What You Need to Know: Yet another study is confirming the benefits of physical activity following the diagnosis of cancer, this time of prostate cancer, on all-cause and prostate-specific survival. Higher levels of physical activity are associated with reduced rates of overall and prostate cancer–specific mortality.

Background: Few studies have investigated the association between post-diagnosis physical activity and mortality among men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of physical activity after a prostate cancer diagnosis on both overall and prostate cancer–specific mortality in a large cohort.

Methods: Data from 4,623 men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer 1997–2002 and followed-up until 2012 were analyzed. Researchers in Sweden examined the association between post-diagnosis recreational MET-h/d, time spent walking/bicycling, performing household work or exercising, and time to overall and prostate cancer–specific death. All models were adjusted for potential confounders.


  • Men who walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day or more had a 30% lower risk for all-cause mortality and a 39% decreased risk for prostate cancer–specific mortality compared with men who walked or cycled less than 20 minutes a day, investigators report.
  • For those exercising 1 or more hours a week, all-cause mortality was reduced by 26% and prostate cancer–specific mortality by 32% compared with men who reported exercising less than 1 hour a week.
  • After considering all time spent walking, cycling, exercising, and doing household work, researchers found that all-cause mortality was 37% lower while prostate cancer–specific mortality was 22% lower for men who had a total MET of 5 or more hours a day compared with those who had a total MET of less than 5 hours a day.


Activity After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Overall Mortality Prostate Cancer–Specific Mortality
  Walking/cycling <20 min/day vs ≥20 min/day 0.70 0.61
  Household work <1 h/day vs ≥1 h/day 0.71 0.86
  Exercise < 1 h/wk vs ≥1 h/wk 0.74 0.68

Conclusions: Higher levels of physical activity were associated with reduced rates of overall and prostate cancer–specific mortality.

Impact: This study further strengthens previous results indicating beneficial effects of physical activity on survival among men with prostate cancer.

Reference: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 1–8. ©2014 AACR.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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