A new study is to be carried out to evaluate whether exercise training could be introduced as an effective routine treatment for prostate cancer.
The Cancer Research UK-backed PANTERA study, led by Sheffield Hallam University, will enrol 50 men whose prostate cancer has not yet spread and will assess whether exercise training should be considered as a new NHS treatment for the condition.
Current evidence suggests that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have generally experience better survival rates. Though it has not been established why this is case, it is speculated that exercise affects the way some genes regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair.
To analyse the trend further, half of the men in the study will take part in two-and-a-half hours of aerobic exercise every week for 12 months, initially with the support of a qualified trainer and subsequently through free access to local gyms. The remainder will receive information about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients, but will have no supervised sessions.
If the participants are able to successfully stick to their exercise regimens for 12 months, the study is expected to lead to a full-scale trial looking at the potential benefits of combining active surveillance and exercise for certain prostate cancer patients.
Study leader Dr Liam Bourke, principal research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, said: "The clinical academic team in Sheffield have been working hard for eight years to develop the intervention that is being tested in this exciting study.
"It builds on what we already know and is the first step towards finding out whether exercise could be an effective and practical NHS treatment for localised prostate cancer."
In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer type affecting men, with around 43,400 new cases diagnosed each year and approximately 10,800 deaths caused by the condition.
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