Newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients can improve their chances of fighting the disease by going on regular power walks, new research has revealed.
Patients’ outcomes can be improved by at least three hours of walking a week, which may even stop the disease spreading.
But walking at a leisurely pace was not enough to see the benefits, the researchers said. “Brisk ” walks needed to be completed to cause any effect.
Some 1,455 men who had been diagnosed with localised prostate cancer that had not started to spread, participated in the study.
Scientists analysed the levels of physical activity that were conducted by the men just over two years from the point they were diagnosed and started initial treatment.
Subsequently, the US researchers recorded 117 events, including disease recurrence, bone tumours, and deaths specifically caused by prostate cancer.
They found that men who walked briskly for at least three hours a week had a 57% lower rate of disease progression than men who walked for less time at an easy pace.
“It appears that men who walk briskly after their diagnosis may delay or even prevent progression of their disease,” said lead scientist Erin Richman, from the University of California, San Francisco.
“The benefit from walking truly depended on how quickly you walked. Walking at an easy pace did not seem to have any benefit.”
The findings add to growing evidence that regular walking may combat a number of health problems, including heart disease and some cancers.
“Walking is something everyone can and should do to improve their health,” Ms Richman added.
- Richman EL, et al. Physical Activity after Diagnosis and Risk of Prostate Cancer Progression: Data from the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor. Cancer Research 2011; Advance online publication