Study puts exercise at core of cancer treatment

It is hoped the study will lead to a full trial to determine if exercise should be used as an NHS treatment for prostate cancer
Jack Hardy (PA)

EXERCISE training is being examined as a possible treatment for prostate cancer in a pioneering new study.

A group of men with the illness are being put through their paces with weekly aerobic sessions by researchers to explore the possible health benefits.

Previous evidence has suggested that exercise can improve survival chances for those diagnosed with the disease.

Backed by Cancer Research UK, it is hoped the year-long study will lead to a full trial, thought to be the first of its kind, to determine if exercise should be used as an NHS treatment.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, with 43,400 cases diagnosed each year, claiming around 10,800 lives.

Volunteer David Curtis (68) was diagnosed with the illness last March and is counting increased exercise as one of his new year's resolutions.

"I was never someone to go to the gym, even though I've always been active, but now I go to the gym twice a week and do lots of walking," he said.

"Since starting on the study, I've started to lose weight and my PSA level has come down which is a really positive indicator.

"I feel privileged to be on the study and pleased to be part of any research which might be useful to others."

High levels of PSA, a protein produced by prostate cells, in the bloodstream can be a sign of cancer. Current forms of treatment for prostate cancer include surgery and radiotherapy, both of which carry risks and side-effects.

Study leader Dr Liam Bourk said: "Evidence suggests that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have better cancer survival than men who aren't active.

"It's not clear yet how this works, but it might be that exercise affects the way some genes regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair."

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