How important is exercise for prostate cancer patients and survivors?
Exercise is a very important part of cancer care and management, and should be performed during and after your treatment. It has many health benefits and should be a focal part of your treatment plan no matter the type or stage of prostate cancer. Even a small amount of exercise will help, so make sure you are physically active. The more you can do, the better; however any exercise is better than none! If you wish to find out more about exercise for prostate cancer patients, feel welcome to read this research article.
Is it exercise safe for people with cancer? Will it make my condition worse?
Exercise is very safe for cancer patients and is an effective managing therapy during and after cancer treatment. Exercise does not interfere with treatment, completion rates or clinical responses, rather it increases tolerance levels to other therapies and reduces adverse symptoms associated with cancer treatment, such as cancer-related fatigue. Exercise provides greater cardio-respiratory (heart and lung) health, greater musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) health, greater physical function, greater mental and sexual health, and improved quality of life. Importantly, exercise lowers disease progression and reduces risk of death from prostate cancer. Exercise is mandatory for any cancer patient at any phase or stage of disease or treatment. If you wish to find out more about the safety and efficacy of exercise in prostate cancer patients, this research article may provide some additional insight.
I already feel tired, will exercise make me more fatigued?
Cancer related fatigue is debilitating side-effect of treatment during usual care. While it may seem counterintuitive, physical activity and exercise is actually beneficial and helpful toward reducing fatigue associated with cancer. Specifically, aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking or cycling) can help reduce fatigue during and after treatment for cancer and is highly recommended. If you wish to find out more about exercise and cancer-related fatigue, feel welcome to read this review article.
How do I know what exercise is best for me? What exercises should I do?
The type of exercise program you undertake depends upon the stage of your cancer and the current treatment plan you are on. Before participating in any exercise program it is strongly advised that you seek approval from your physician and an accredited exercise physiologist who specialises in cancer management. As a general rule, a well-balanced program involving aerobic (walking, jogging, cycling or rowing) and resistance (weight training, jumping, hopping or bounding) exercises are most beneficial to your cardio-respiratory and musculoskeletal health, wellbeing, and physical function to help you live longer and improve your quality of life.
What should I expect to feel once I start exercising?
When you exercise, you will notice an increase in your heart rate and breathing rate. While this is perfectly normal, it is important that if you feel like you’re not getting enough air, run out of breathe quickly or experience any chest or arm pain while exercising, stop immediately and consult your physician. It is extremely important to listen to your body when you are exercising. Your exercise program and physical activities should feel challenging, however you should never feel acute pain or extreme tiredness.
Are there special therapists or exercise professionals who work with prostate cancer patients?
Accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs) who specialise in cancer management are available to help guide and assist you through your exercise program. You can search for an AEP in your area by using the search form provided on the ESSA webpage or by speaking to your primary physician who may have a preferred referral. Your physician and can also answer any questions you may have before engaging in any exercise program, including potential restrictions to your specific phase and stage of cancer and treatment.
Are there any prostate cancer exercise groups or programs I can enroll in?
Support networks in the form of family and friends are crucial. However, additional programs providing group exercise for prostate cancer patients and survivors provide unique, engaging, motivating and friendly environments for you to speak to other men who are experiencing similar thoughts, feelings, treatments and side-effects to you. It is an excellent way to meet new people, make new friends and increase your social engagement and wellbeing in otherwise difficult times. You may wish to read the support page which lists various foundations and organisations which can assist you with finding out more information and support. For example, the Cancer Council of Western Australia runs a LifeNow program to help promote physical activity and exercise as an integral part of cancer management. Activities such as meditation, yoga and regular exercise programs managed by AEPs are open for enrolments.