Senior Men: Prostate Cancer and Exercise

Feb 5th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

A recent article in Cancer Causes and Control, an international journal that studies cancer in humans, suggested that an active lifestyle may provide some protection against prostate cancer.

Studies have looked at diet, exercise, weight and environmental influences that contribute to cancer growing from microscopic tumors to clinically significant tumors.  Such studies suggest a variety of factors that both encourage growth of prostate cancer cells and protect against the development of them. 

The article cited in Cancer Causes and Control falls in the category of lifestyle choices that may protect against the development of prostate cancer.  The study looked at men in the aerospace industry (nuclear rocket engine testing facility in Southern California) and compared men who had sedentary jobs with men who had jobs that required high levels of continuous activity.  There were 2,167 men in the study, and they were followed for a 10-year period, between 1988 and 1999. 

During that period, 362 of the men developed prostate cancer (17%).  These men had more sedentary jobs, mostly sitting at desks.  They were managers, data analysts, inspectors, administrators and senior engineers.  Those who did not develop prostate cancer during the years in question were more likely to be men who had high levels of activity, including mechanics, patrolmen, firemen, electricians and janitors.  

The research suggests that the men who were more active may have had lower levels of male hormones (androgens) that have the potential to be altered with physical activity.  The conclusions further suggest that having a physically active job, or engaging in regular exercise that is physically challenging, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.  

This study, as well as the many studies that define the benefits of exercise for so many bodily functions, strongly support the need for a regular exercise regimen that all seniors should adopt.



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