Exercise to help fight Prostate Cancer

Exercise and physical activity is important for all, but can be even more important for those suffering from prostate cancer.

By improving your fitness level, it will help you:
•  Overcome side effects of therapy
•  Will improve your general health
•  Helps to reduce fatigue, associated with treatment options
•  Slows the growth of the tumor.

Exercise will help regain muscle mass, making you stronger. It assists in combating weight/fat gain and the more muscle you have, the higher rate of metabolism, so you can burn fat even when just sitting around.

Reduced testosterone levels increase the risk of osteoporosis or bone thinning, and the best was to reduce that risk is with a good diet that included calcium and weight bearing exercise.

It is not uncommon for men diagnosed with cancer to feel depressed, but depression can also be a side effect of therapy.

Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in depression because it positively affects the neurotransmitters in the brain.

If your appetite is affected, exercise may help make you feel hungry.

Exercise has many benefits. Apart from helping to manage weight, it can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure and stroke. It can also help reduce the risk of type 2 or adult onset diabetes. Exercise can also have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and stress.

Recent clinical studies revealed that exercise reduced fatigue in men with prostate cancer, even after radiotherapy, which is known to cause fatigue. The men studied in these clinical trials also reported an improvement in their quality of life and feeling of strength.

Supporting your exercising should be your diet. A diet low in fat and high in fibre. In combination with exercise, can help prevent prostate cancer. A study has shown that this combination can help slow the growth of a tumour by up to 30%.

Choosing the correct exercise should be undertaken in consultation with your doctor. It is important not to exercise too hard too quickly, simply because your body is under siege from both the treatment and the disease.

Your exercise should be looking to achieve three objectives:
•  Moderate aerobic exercise to help your stamina and endurance. Aerobic exercise users the large muscles of the body to elevate the heart rate. It includes walking, swimming, jogging, cycling and dancing. It is suggested that you work toward maintaining some level of aerobic exercise to 20-30 minutes, three times a week.
•  Improve muscular strength. Lifting weights or doing resistance exercise fits this category. The goal is to maintain muscle strength – and use just enough weight to do that. Lifting large weights is not recommended and once again you should seek assistance from a trainer or physiotherapist.
•  Maintaining and improving flexibility is also important. Periods of inactivity and reduced movement can lead to stiffened joints and discomfort. Flexibility exercises might include knee lifts, shoulder shrugs and gentle stretching.
Exercise can also include routine physical activities such as mowing lawns, vacuuming and sweeping pathways.

You do not have to run a marathon. Walking is extremely good because it puts less stress on the knees than running. And cycling is even better again. Playing golf, swimming are also good activities.

When starting, begin slowly and increase gradually. Make your exercise something that you enjoy and do not exercise when it is too hot or too cold. Warm up and cool down on either side of your exercise and drink plenty of water when exercising.

Don't push it too hard – just enjoy it.

How can you protect yourself? - Diet is important

Diet plays a major role in reducing the development of prostate disease. This was revealed in Therapy Update in australiandoctor on 17 September 2004.

There are a number of natural agents, which have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and isoflavonoides have been shown to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. At this point in time treatment with these agents once prostate cancer has developed has not been shown to reduce the severity of disease or enhance the likelihood of cure. It seems that healthy diet throughout your life may well reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Research suggests that a diet rich in fish, fruit and vegetables and low in meat is likely to protect against benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that of a survey, involving 6000 men over a period of 30 years revealed that high consumption of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring could reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Men who ate no fish had a two to threefold higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men who ate moderate and high amounts. The survey suggested that the benefits are related to the high omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish.

There is evidence that high intake of dairy products may well increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. And fats, polyunsaturated fats and possibly milk intake are also contributors. This may explain the increased incidence of prostate cancer in the western world.

The incidence of prostate disease is about 30 times higher in Western men than in Eastern men of similar age, and research supports diet as the contributing factor. Where soy is consumed in large amounts, prostate cancer and BPH is extremely low.

Researches studied 404 men living in South-East China and the risk of prostate cancer declined with the increased frequency of consuming green tea.

Further studies, involving 50,000 middle aged doctors since 1986, it was revealed that there was a significant reduction in prostate cancer in men with a high dietary intake of lycopene with a relative risk reduced by 84%, even after adjusting for all other risk factors such as smoking and dietary factors.

Lycopene is a natural antioxidant found predominantly in tomatoes. The main source of lycopene in the study was from tomato sauce. A significant protective effect was also noted in men with a consumption of allium vegetables. After adjusting for age and intake of other foods, high consumption of garlic and onions were associated with the greatest protective effects.

Exercise is a major contributor in reducing BPH, especially more intense exercise such as squash and running while alcohol, especially if men are drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a day, the chances of prostate cancer increased.

A large placebo-controlled study of almost 30,000 smokers aged between 50 - 69 found that 50mg of alphatocopherol a day reduced the incidence of clinical prostate cancer by 32% and mortality from prostate cancer by 41%. Sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, canola oil, nuts, spinach and egg yolk.

Research also shows that men with high selenium levels have a lower risk of prostate cancer. In stark contrast, men who consumed more zinc than others doubled their risk of prostate cancer.

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