Exercise as Good as Medicine


Soon a cancer diagnosis may come with an exercise prescription. Intense, physical exercise improves the quality of life for men with advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Fred Saad, researcher at the University of Montreal, has shown that exercise has a DIRECT effect on cancer. That exercise is as effective as drugs, even in advanced stages of the disease. Dr. Saad says that even active patients often become sedentary once diagnosed and this affects cancer progression.  

Dr. Saad is now studying exercise, in addition to regular treatment, along with Professor Robert Newton, Co-Director at Edith Cowan University at Exercise Medicine Research Institute, who has designed a specific strength and cardiovascular training program for patients in the new trial. These patients will participate in one hour of cardio and resistance training three times per week and be supervised for 12 months to prove that exercise extends the life of patients with metastic prostate cancer.

Another study being done this year by Cancer Research UK is testing exercise as a treatment for prostate cancer.   Using exercise, as opposed to surgery or radiation, to prevent cancer from spreading  to other areas of the body. The researchers believe that exercise affects the genes that regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair. The men participating in the UK study will have active surveillance of their cancer rather than surgery or radiation, in addition to exercise sessions.

Research earlier this year from Harvard Medical School states that 20-40% of cancer diagnosis and 50% of all deaths from cancer could be prevented by adopting 4 healthy lifestyle factors. The four factors are not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, regular moderate to vigorous activity and avoiding alcohol.

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