Researchers in the U.K. are conducting a study to determine whether exercise therapy could play a role in increasing the survival rate in men suffering from prostate cancer.
According to BBC News on Wednesday, the research team from the Sheffield Hallam University in England, together with Cancer Research U.K., are looking at the possibility of halting the spread of tumors in cancer through physical activity.
In order to facilitate the trial, the researchers asked 50 men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has not yet spread to participate in their study for a duration of 12 months.
The researchers aim to prove that aerobic exercise could be beneficial for prostate cancer patients and should be offered as a form of treatment on the National Health Service (NHS).
Half of the test subjects will be subjected to a supervised weekly exercise, while the other half will only be offered information on the benefits of physical activity on cancer patients. Researchers will then monitor the subjects' blood for PSA levels.
An increased level in PSA, a type of protein produced by prostate cells, can signify that the cancer is spreading.
"I was never someone to go to the gym, even though I've always been active, but now I go to the gym twice a week and do lots of walking," said one of the study's volunteer David Curtis, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer last March. "Since starting on the study, I've started to lose weight and my PSA level has come down which is a really positive indicator."
Independent noted on Wednesday other forms of treatment for prostate cancer currently being advocated by medical experts, including surgery and radiotherapy, both of which having adverse effects and risks for the patient.
"Evidence suggests that men who are physically active after a prostate cancer diagnosis have better cancer survival than men who aren't active," pointed study leader Dr. Liam Bourk. "It's not clear yet how this works, but it might be that exercise affects the way some genes regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair."
"We hope that studies like this can help develop a clearer understanding of how and why physical activity benefits men with prostate cancer," added Head of Research Funding at Prostate Cancer U.K. Simon Grieveson "as well as how best to motivate and support them to maintain a healthy lifestyle during and after treatment."