A study has explored the possibilities of how to fight off the side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer, ANI reports.
According to the research conducted by Ohio State University, men on hormone therapy for prostate cancer may benefit significantly from hitting the gym with fellow patients and choosing more veggies and fewer cheeseburgers.
Androgen deprivation therapy is a powerful tool against prostate cancer, and more and more men are opting for the treatment as a growing array of hormone-based therapies become available.
But it comes at a cost. Suppressing male hormones, including testosterone, that fuel cancer growth also means that patients lose strength and muscle mass and gain fat. And that puts the men at risk for other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.
“We found that a comprehensive exercise and diet program in a group setting can make a difference for prostate cancer patients, and the difference was greater than I expected in a short period of time,” said lead author Brian Focht.
“As they gain fat and lose muscle during hormone therapy, these men are at significant risk for chronic health problems including metabolic disorder, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease.”
While this isn’t the first study to show that exercise is good for prostate cancer patients and survivors, it is the first to employ this type of group approach and one of the first to also focus on diet, said Focht.
“We think the group approach is important, because it creates social support for a group of men who have experienced shared challenges, and that can increase the chances of long-term behaviour change,” Focht said. “We wondered if prostate cancer patients would view this approach as feasible and acceptable, and we heard a resounding ‘yes.’ They fully embraced it.”
The study included 32 prostate cancer patients treated at Ohio State’s Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. Half the men participated in a 12-week personalised programme that included group exercise and nutrition counselling.
The other half received some basic education related to their cancer diagnosis, and the opportunity for exercise education at the end of the study. Before the study, all of the men were sedentary, exercising less than an hour a week in the previous six months.
The research team evaluated the men at the start of the study, two months after the programme and three months after the programme and found significant differences between the men who had the intervention and those who did not.
The exercise and diet group saw gains in mobility and muscle strength and decreases in fat mass three months after the intervention, while those three measures moved in the opposite, undesirable, direction for the other group of men.