Does Exercise Increase Prostate Cancer Survival?

Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases, causing millions of people to lose their lives every year. This disease can affect any part of the body, and if undetected, can become aggressive.

While prostate cancer survival rates are high, there are still some who experience aggressive cancer.

Consulting a healthcare professional to understand your risk, the nature of prostate cancer, and its diagnostic processes is crucial for early detection.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is a term used to refer to a collection of cancerous cells in the prostate gland. This is a small gland that sits just below the bladder, around the urethra, in the male body.

When cancerous cells start growing and multiplying in this gland, it can lead to the development of prostate cancer.

The primary concern regarding prostate cancer is often the impact it may have on the male patient’s sperm quality, which may ultimately harm their fertility.

The prostate gland secretes a fluid that mixes with sperm. This creates the semen that is ejaculated through the tip of the penis during sexual intercourse.

The development of prostate cancer may impact the gland’s ability to produce these fluids. This may affect sperm and, subsequently, fertility. Additionally, individuals often have concerns about the potential impact of prostate cancer on erectile function.

In most cases where a prostate cancer diagnosis is given, the disease will be localized. Localized prostate cancer refers to the development of cancerous cells in the prostate, in which case the tumor is only found in this gland.

There are, however, a small number of cases where a male patient may be diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. In such a case, cancer may spread to other regions of the person’s body.

How common is Prostate Cancer?

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. An average of 174,650 men in the United States alone is diagnosed with the disease every year.

Prostate cancer is more prevalent among older men. In about 60% of cases where prostate cancer is diagnosed, the patient is over the age of 65.

The average age at which prostate cancer is diagnosed in the United States is 66 years. Only a very small number of men are diagnosed with this particular type of cancer before they turn 40.

Most cases of this disease are diagnosed as confined prostate cancer. This accounts for about 90% of all diagnosis that is made.

In the other 10% of cases, the patient has prostate cancer that is metastatic, which means cancer does not only affect the prostate gland.

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Should you exercise if you have Prostate Cancer?

Physical activity is critical for the general health of the human body. It is generally advised that all men, regardless of their age, participate in at least some form of physical activity regularly.

This helps to keep the body healthy and maintain muscle mass. Exercise also comes with additional benefits for men’s health. However, men with prostate cancer might not be sure if physical activity is the right remedy for them.

According to the American Cancer Society, physical activity is an important lifestyle factor that plays a part in the development of cancer.

By exercising regularly, a patient can assist in reducing the risk of developing cancer in the first place. There are several ways that exercise helps out in terms of prostate cancer risk, as well as other types of cancers.

First of all, when a person participates in regular physical exercise, they can maintain a healthy weight.

Obesity has been linked to several forms of cancer, which means men who have excess weight seems to be more likely to suffer from prostate cancer.

It should be noted that studies found PSA levels to be increased shortly following a workout.

Cycling has been observed to have the most significant impact on PSA levels, but other types of activities, including running on a treadmill, may also cause a spike. The rise in PSA levels is only temporary, however.

PSA, a term that refers to prostate-specific antigen, is a compound in the body that usually increases in the presence of prostate cancer.

As a side note, it is important to be aware that a number of factors can cause a rise in PSA. A high PSA reading is not always indicative of cancer. You can read more about this here-

This is why a doctor may advise a man to get a PSA test as a first-line in determining if the patient has this type of cancer. If the PSA test comes back with a high level, then further tests may be conducted.

During treatment for prostate cancer, PSA tests may be done occasionally to determine how effective the treatment program is. If a test is coming up, the man should abstain from the usual exercises they are doing for at least one day prior to the tests.

This will help to ensure that a workout routine does not interfere with the test results.

Can exercise increase prostate cancer survival?

We have established that exercising could provide benefits to men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The question still remains, can prostate cancer survival be increased with regular physical activity. Fortunately, studies have been conducted, providing further insight.

The American Cancer Society conducted an extensive study to determine just how much of an impact exercise could have on men with prostate cancer. There was a total of 10,000 men who participated in this study.

The participates were aged between 50 and 93 years. All of the participants had been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer between the period of 1992 and 2011. None of the patients had metastatic prostate cancer at the time of the study.

A questionnaire was provided to each of the patients who participated in the study. Details were gathered regarding the physical activity level of the participant before and after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

The researchers behind the study reported a 30% improvement in the survival rate of a man with prostate cancer who participates in regular exercise.

The researchers also found that there is a further 34% increase in the survival rate of prostate cancer among the men who exercised the most, compared to those with lower levels of physical activity.

At the same time, it is noted that even low-level activities like brisk walking seem to have a positive impact on prostate cancer survival.

People who walked for at least four hours each week before they were diagnosed with prostate cancer had a 10% better chance of surviving the disease.

Accumulating data suggest that exercise can modify the biology of prostate cancer, in addition to improving quality of life-related parameters.

In a follow-up study of 2,705 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer who survived at least 4 years after diagnosis, vigorous exercise (cycling, swimming, jogging) for more than 3 hours weekly led to lower all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.

What are the survival rates for Prostate Cancer?

The good news for the majority of people diagnosed with prostate cancer is the fact that the survival rate of the disease is quite high.

In fact, within the United States, 99% of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive for at least five years following the date at which the diagnosis was made.

There are, however, still some cases where prostate cancer is more aggressive and may even spread to other organs in the body.

The survival rate of prostate cancer patients in the United States is considered high. However, there are still about 88 deaths recorded every day.

This is why such an emphasis is placed on early detection. When prostate cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage, there is a significantly higher chance for the male patient to survive the disease.

What kind of exercise should I do after prostate cancer treatment?

Different treatments are available for prostate cancer, and each comes with its own risks.

Patients who undergo a surgical procedure, such as radical prostatectomy should take note of the potential side effects that may occur, and understand how certain activities could affect them.

After prostate cancer treatment, men should gradually reintroduce physical activities, considering the type of treatment received and potential side effects.

Introducing the patient to a few pelvic floor exercises can provide a range of gentler activities that can help the man remain active, without causing harm to the surgical site.

Pelvic exercises host a range of health benefits for men, especially when it comes to prostate health.

The prostate gland can be found under the bladder, surrounding the urethra. The urethra is a tube that carries urine through the penis out of the body.

However, during prostate treatment, the muscles surrounding the prostate can become gradually weakened, resulting in urine leakage and even incontinence.

By building up you’re the strength of your prostate and floor muscles, you enjoy a number of benefits including:

  • Improved prostate health.

  • Prevents urinary and fecal incontinence.

  • Improved sexual function.

Men who undergo radiation therapy for prostate cancer might find themselves back on their feet sooner. At this point, they may slowly reintroduce their bodies to a more vigorous exercise routine.

What exercise precautions do I need to take?

Patients with prostate cancer should avoid strenuous activities and consult their healthcare provider to determine suitable exercise intensity based on their health status. Some men may experience cancer-related fatigue and should consult their doctor prior to partaking in vigorous activity.

When participating in a regular workout routine, it might be a good idea to put a pause to these classes when surgery is required.

The patient should talk to their surgeon to determine when they will be able to return to a more active lifestyle.

Men should also ensure they eat a proper diet with the essential nutrients that are known to benefit the prostate gland.

The diet should also support healthy levels of energy. This helps the patient make the most out of a workout that they want to participate in to boost their own health.


Prostate cancer is considered relatively easy to treat when detected during the earlier stages of the disease.

In the early stages, symptoms of prostate cancer are not always easy to identify. Therefore, men are advised to have frequent checkups with a physician, especially if they find that they might be at a higher risk.

Several studies suggest that maintaining a regular exercise routine may be associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer in some individuals.

Among patients who are already diagnosed with the condition, exercise may still play an essential part in fighting against cancer.


  1. Kindermann W1, Lehmann V, Herrmann M, Loch T.. (2011). [Influencing of the PSA concentration in serum by physical exercise (especially bicycle riding)].. Der Urologe. 50 (20), p188-96.
  2. Newton RU, Kenfield SA, Hart NH, et al. Intense Exercise for Survival among Men with Metastatic Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer (INTERVAL-GAP4): a multicentre, randomised, controlled phase III study protocol. BMJ Open. 2018;8(5):e022899. Published 2018 May 14. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022899
  4. Hayes, B, Brady,L, Pollak,M, Finn, S. (2016). Exercise and Prostate Cancer: Evidence and Proposed Mechanisms for Disease Modification. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 25 (9), p1281-1287.

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