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29-06-2011 | Oncology | Article

Exercise improves physical function and QoL in prostate cancer patients

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Exercise improves physical fitness, functional performance, and quality of life (QoL) in prostate cancer patients, research shows.

Physical activity performed two to three times per week also reduces fatigue, report Justin Keogh (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) and colleagues in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

"Exercise should be considered an important part of the survivorship process for prostate cancer patients and exercise counseling should become a regular component of usual care," say the researchers.

Prostate cancer patients often experience symptoms that reduce QoL.

With treatment, particularly androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), fatigue is a common side effect. As a result, patients have challenges continuing to work, taking care of themselves, and performing leisure activities.

In addition to fatigue, ADT reduces testosterone levels and this can lead to declines in body composition, including increases in fat and declines in bone mineral density and muscle mass.

In the present study, Keogh and colleagues reviewed 12 exercise studies to determine if physical activity could reduce symptoms and improve QoL in prostate cancer patients.

Six trials included patients who were regular users of ADT, two trials included ADT and surgical patients, and three trials included patients who were treated with radiation, of which two included patients who also used ADT.

Overall, seven group-based exercise studies showed that patients improved their muscle strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic endurance with exercise training.

Importantly, the group-based exercise studies showed significant improvements in various QoL and fatigue measures.

In contrast, just two of four home-based exercise programs showed any significant improvements in functional performance. For these trials, only aerobic endurance was improved with home-based training.

For the home-based studies, there was no significant improvement in QoL, and just two trials reported improvements in fatigue.

The four trials that included resistance training only and one study that included resistance and aerobic exercise showed significant improvements in muscular strength and/or muscular endurance.

There were mixed results regarding improvements in fatigue and QoL in the resistance training groups.

Overall, the researchers say that exercise should be promoted among prostate cancer patients as it shows "relatively strong" to "strong" evidence it can improve functioning and QoL, as well as reduce fatigue.

Greater peer support appears to play a role in these improvements, they add.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By MedWire Reporters

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