06 Jan 2016

How we're making exercise a lifesaver for every man with prostate cancer

A new trial looking at the effects of exercise on prostate cancer complements a host of our own research into the best healthy lifestyle for men after diagnosis.

We welcome today's reports of a new year-long study by Sheffield Hallam University into the impacts of exercise on prostate cancer patients. As our Head of Research Funding, Simon Grieveson, told the Independent, we know that a healthy lifestyle can improve outcomes for men living with the disease.

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of physical activity after cancer and cancer treatment, with one finding that it reduced the risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality by approximately 30 per cent and slowed disease progression by up to 57 per cent. Scientists think it's because exercise may help regulate the way cancer cells grow and repair DNA, but we still need a much clearer understanding of how and why these benefits occur.

Promising health programme trials across the UK

Just as important, though, is developing effective programmes and support to encourage prostate cancer patients to continue exercising, as we know that many men are likely to reduce their physical activity following a diagnosis. With the support of Movember funding, we've already run successful trials of a 13-week health and lifestyle programme in Middlesbrough and a specialist physiotherapy unit in London. Both will be used to influence decision-makers and health professionals to implement similar schemes across the country.

But there's much more to come with our involvement in the TrueNTH global initiative, led by the Movember Foundation, which aims to identify the best and most cost-effective models for improving prostate cancer survivorship care and support. As part of this, we'll soon begin training pharmacists in Portsmouth to offer a health assessment, prescribe exercise and offer dietary advice to men with prostate cancer, as well providing a specially-created support manual.

The results of this and other TrueNTH schemes will be known in 2017, when the most successful of them will be rolled out worldwide.

Read and download our expert guide to diet and physical activity.