The Institute for Health & Ageing's Associate Professor Prue Cormie recently spoke with the ABC about her research program examining the impact of exercise on the physical, mental and sexual wellbeing of those battling prostate cancer.
The work, which explores the application of exercise as medicine for the management of cancer, has found exercise to be strongly effective in counteracting the physiological and psychological side effects associated with prostate cancer.
These side effects, which include urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, changes to body composition (rapid fat mass gain, loss of muscle mass), depression, compromised bone health, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and more, have a detrimental effect on men’s quality of life.
Lee Giampietro also joined the program, talking firsthand about the role exercise played in helping him in the management and treatment of his cancer. Lee was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 and took part in a research trial, led by Associate Professor Cormie, observing the impact of exercise on treatment related side effects.
“Exercise has great potential to have a positive effect on men with prostate cancer. We know from previous scientific research that it can reverse side effects, improve quality of life, and fight cancer spread within the body,” said Associate Professor Cormie.
Men who are physically fit and partake in more exercise have a lower relative risk of dying from cancer (10-60%), of prostate cancer recurring (15-55%) and of dying from any other cause (50%).
“In addition to the physical side effects, many men with prostate cancer experience anxiety and depression, yet they’re reluctant to seek help for these issues. Exercise can help this, by improving their mood and offsetting the mental health issues associated with the disease,” added Professor Cormie.