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A study presented in 2014 at the AACR-Prostate Cancer Foundation Conference on Advances in Prostate Cancer Research reported a surprising relationship between vigorous exercise and the shape of blood vessels found in prostate cancer tumors. Men who walked faster prior to a diagnosis of prostate cancer were found to have more regularly shaped blood vessels than men who walked more slowly.
“Regularly shaped” means the walls of tumor’s blood vessels were more circular, and the closer to an exact circle, the more “regular” they are. Although researchers do not yet understand the mechanism by which faster walking influences more circular shape, they were able to show that the patients with regularly shaped blood vessels had a lower risk of recurrence and of dying from prostate cancer.
While this study is not conclusive, the results correlate well with other research reporting positive prevention, treatment, and health maintenance results when cancer patients practice healthy habits of nutrition, working out, stress management, meditation, etc.
It appears that a regular commitment to lifestyle improvements can affect the course of cancer.
One of the authors of the walking study, Erin Van Blarigan, Sc.D. was quoted in the Science Daily news. “Our findings suggest a possible mechanism by which exercise may improve outcomes in men with prostate cancer….Although data from randomized, controlled trials are needed before we can conclude that exercise causes a change in vessel regularity or clinical outcomes in men with prostate cancer, our study supports the growing evidence of the benefits of exercise, such as brisk walking, for men with prostate cancer.”
This brings up an important point about the ways in which prostate cancer patients, or even patients with other types of cancer, can increase the chances of successful treatment. When patients take responsibility for their self care to whatever degree they can manage, they are investing in a future much less burdened with disease and treatment issues than others who don’t.
For prostate cancer patients in particular, this can make a difference. Assuming that a healthy diet, a schedule of vigorous walking (or other exercise) 3-4 times per week, and stress management make a difference in reducing the aggressiveness and progression time of a tumor, patients may qualify for a targeted (focal) tumor ablation, with greater reassurance that cancer won’t recur, as this study suggests.
Copyright by Dan Sperling, MD. Reprint permission courtesy of Sperling Prostate Center (New York, Florida), the leading U.S. center for multiparametric detection, diagnosis and image-guided focal treatment of prostate cancer.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Possible explanation for link between exercise, improved prostate cancer outcomes. Science Daily 20 Jan 2014