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Brisk walking can benefit men with early-stage prostate cancer, study suggests

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Men with early-stage prostate cancer may benefit from walking briskly for at least three hours per week, US scientists have found.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and the Harvard School of Public Health studied 1,455 men, all of whom had prostate cancer that had not spread beyond the prostate.

They found that men who walked ‘briskly’ for at least three hours per week – defined as a minimum rate of three miles per hour – were 57 per cent less likely to experience disease progression than those who only walked at an easy pace for less than three hours a week.These benefits were found regardless of a patient’s age at diagnosis, type of treatment or clinical features of their disease.

The findings, which are published in the journal Cancer Research, indicate that men with early-stage prostate cancer who regularly walk at a brisk pace may be less likely to see their disease spread.

Study author Dr Erin Richman said: “The important point was the intensity of the activity – the walking had to be brisk for men to experience a benefit. Our results provide men with prostate cancer something they can do to improve their prognosis.”

Liz Woolf, head of Cancer Research UK’s patient information website CancerHelp UK, said: “We know there are many benefits to exercise and that it can help people to recover more quickly after cancer treatment, but it’s difficult to set specific levels of exercise as everyone’s needs and abilities are different. Just to be safe, it is important that people with cancer check with their doctor before taking up any new form of exercise.”

See Simon Meadows’ article on the Optemist’s website