Prostate cancer patients 'should remain active'

In collaboration with the Press Association

Prostate cancer patients have been encouraged to remain active despite evidence which appears to suggest that exercise speeds the growth of tumours. A study by researchers at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center (DCCC) and the Duke Prostate Center found that tumours grew at a faster rate in mice that exercised than those that remained inactive. "Our study showed that exercise led to significantly greater tumor growth than a more sedentary lifestyle did, in this mouse model," commented Dr Lee Jones, a researcher in the DCCC and senior investigator on this study. Prostate tumours were implanted under the skins of 50 mice, all of which were fed the same diet. Half were put in cages with exercise wheels and half in cages with no wheels, and exercising mice ran more than half a mile each day on average. "We found that among the mice that had the opportunity to voluntarily exercise, tumours grew approximately twice as fast as they did among the mice that did not have the opportunity to exercise," Dr Jones said. However, Dr Stephen Freedland, another of the Duke researchers, said that it was important not to read too much into the results and that the conclusion that prostate cancer patients should stop exercising should not be leapt to. "These mice were not receiving treatment and we were allowing aggressive tumours to grow unchecked," he said, adding that prostate patients - and indeed older men in general - should continue to exercise given the benefits associated with the practise in reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity and improving cardiovascular health. According to Dr Jones, the results of the study could help scientists understand how to improve blood flow to tumours and ultimately allow for the better distribution of medicine.