Double benefit of physical exercise in prevention and treatment

In Argentina, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men: it is estimated to generate more than 11,000 new cases per year and cause approximately 3,600 deaths. The main risk factor is age (it is more common after age 50). It cannot be modified, nor can genetic predisposition. But there are factors that help reduce the chances of developing it: physical exercise is one of them.

A recent study published in British Journal of Sports Medicinewhose authors suggest that ” Improving Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Adult MenWhich can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.”

Unlike other very common tumors such as breast, colon and lung, there are relatively few preventable risk factors that have solid evidence for reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer, say researchers at the Swedish School of Sports Sciences and Health, Stockholm. shed light on this.

And while there is evidence of the beneficial effects of physical activity in reducing the risk of developing many types of cancer, previous studies had found associations with prostate cancer. less obvious And, at some points, contradictory.

To find out whether improving cardiorespiratory fitness could reduce risk over time, Swedish researchers analyzed information on physical activity, lifestyle and body mass index from more than 180,000 men in the Nordic country’s health database. Did.

About a quarter of them also performed two tests on a stationary bicycle to evaluate their cardiorespiratory fitness, a measurement that resulted in absolute and relative maximum V02 (the amount of oxygen used by the body while exercising at the highest possible intensity). Was expressed as.

The participants were divided into three groups based on whether the results of these tests showed their cardiorespiratory fitness increased by 3% annually, decreased by 3%, or remained stable.

After a 7-year follow-up, the researchers observed that, regardless of other potentially influential factors (such as age, educational level, weight, smoking, etc.), those who did had improvement of 3% or more per year. 35% less likely to develop prostate cancer Compared to those whose physical condition had declined.

Although this is an observational study and, thus, cannot establish cause (doing physical exercise)-effect (preventing cancer), especially considering that genetic factors play an important role, the authors highlighted that “the results Highlight the importance of cardiorespiratory fitness For risk of prostate cancer.

inverse relationship

“This is a large study in which we actually see an inverse relationship between functional cardiorespiratory capacity and prostate cancer incidence. It’s important to date because there was no other so special Aimed at this type of cancer,” he highlighted bugle Gonzalo Vitagliano, head of uro-oncology of the urology service of the German Hospital of Buenos Aires.

Along the same lines, Juan Pablo Saade, head of the genitourinary tumor area at the Alexander Fleming Institute (IAF) and the Australian University Hospital, said that “this article adds even more evidence On exercise and its association with reduction in prostate cancer diagnoses”.

And he emphasized that “above all it is The difference is very noticeable “Between men who improve their cardiovascular fitness versus those who deteriorate the same characteristic”.

Not all prostate tumors are curable. Photo Shutterstock.

The contradictory findings obtained in previous studies mentioned by the article’s authors respond, according to Vitagliano, to “diagnostic bias”.

It turns out that some studies reported a higher incidence of prostate cancer in men with better physical condition. “What happens is that men who have lifestyles meant to increase their cardiorespiratory capacity monitor themselves more. Since prostate cancer is asymptomatic, greater monitoring increases detection.”

From the age of 50, an annual urological examination is recommended, which favors early diagnosis and allows us to establish whether it is necessary to start treatment (in some men only in case of Monitoring and treatment is indicated). Men with a history should start screening earlier.

more than just losing weight

If non-modifiable factors such as age and genetic load are excluded, overweight and obesity are among the main risk factors for developing prostate cancer.

So will the improvements from physical exercise lead to associated weight loss?

“It’s not just about that, because when cardiorespiratory fitness improves General inflammation levels are reduced of the body, which reduces Nox (factors) that are associated with the development of cancer,” Vitagliano explained.

And he stressed: “It is not just about losing weight: with the improvement in physical condition achieved through exercise, vascularization and the immune system are improved, reducing the chance of developing tumors. “

In the German hospital he started a rehabilitation program, “We give patients dietary and cardiovascular conditioning guidelines before starting prostate cancer treatment,” the expert said.

The reason? Many people arrive without information or tools to incorporate healthy habits, so the urology service refers them to consultations with cardiologists and nutritionists who provide them with personalized behavioral guidelines, taking into account the possibilities and limitations of each Are designed on the basis of.

Patients in good physical condition face fewer complications. Photo Shutterstock.

Saade explains that during treatment and/or monitoring, “we try to influence patients to make behavioral changes that result not only in better prostate health, but also in better general health, such as regular Based on physical activity, weight loss and More muscle mass and less body fatAnd increase the intake of some specific foods such as tomatoes, broccoli, pomegranate, turmeric, green tea within the framework of a healthy diet.

Physical activity guidelines suggest a aerobic exercise combination (like brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling) and muscle strength training,

benefit in treatment also

But professionals point out that the benefits of physical exercise are not limited to prostate cancer prevention.

“There is already substantial evidence to show that physical exercise not only reduces the incidence of prostate cancer, but some studies also show that it reduces mortality.” Helps deal with the consequences of treatment” Sade told Clarin.

,Complications are minor, When patients are in good physical condition, they do better,” Vitagliano stressed. “People who exercise and stay healthy tolerate chemotherapy and radiotherapy better, their condition deteriorates less. That is, they have less adverse effects than hormone therapy and even surgery. They’re simple.”

Doctor reminds that mortality rate from prostate cancer is high 30% is caused by heart disease, “Facing the same oncological disease, a patient with good cardiorespiratory fitness has a better prognosis than one who has obesity, hypertension, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle or is a smoker.”

However, he emphasized that “this patient will live longer, not because the tumor will be treated differently, but because he will have fewer complications.”

And he summarized: “A healthy life will not only reduce the chance of getting sick, but will also mean that if it does happen to you (for example due to genetics or other non-modifiable causes), You’re going to take it very easy,

“The various measures that have been recommended to reduce global cancer risk include some of the better known measures such as quitting smoking, not sunbathing, not consuming alcohol. Weight control and regular physical activity, These are also preventive measures that help reduce the risk of not only prostate cancer, but many other types of very common tumors such as breast cancer and colon cancer,” Saade concluded.

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