Prostate cancer aggressiveness in obese patients reduced by exercise and healthy habits

By: Devon Andre | Cancer | Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 02:30 PM

Prostate cancer aggressiveness in obese patients reduced by exercise and healthy habits

Prostate cancer aggressiveness in obese patients is reduced by exercise and healthy habits. Obesity is a risk factor for poor overall health and has been shown to increase complications for many health conditions as well. Therefore, it is of no surprise that combating obesity can help improve outcomes of prostate cancer.

The prostate is surrounded by fatty tissue known as periprostatic adipose tissue (PPAT) that becomes infiltrated by cancer cells – this is how cancer spreads. This process has been found to be more predominant in obese people, suggesting that cancer has the potential to become more aggressive in those who are overweight.

In lab mice who were fed a high fat diet, tumor progression and dissemination outside of the prostate was greater, compared to mice of normal weight. The similar results were also found in obese men in a study of 100 human tumor samples.

The findings give hope that researchers can begin exploring more targeted treatment options to combat aggressive prostate cancer.

Exercise protects men from aggressive prostate

Prostate cancer aggressiveness in obese patients reduced by exercise and healthy habitsAn alternative study followed thousands of men during their midlife and old age for over 20 years. The researchers found that vigorous exercise and healthy lifestyle habits reduce the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer by nearly 68 percent.

Majority of prostate cancers are non-life-threatening, but there is a form of prostate cancer that is aggressive and can affect the bones, along with other organs. A University of California San Francisco and Harvard research team explored healthy lifestyle habits and exercise to determine if they had life-saving benefits against lethal prostate cancer.

Participants were free of cancer diagnosis, and each participant responded to a survey gauging healthy lifestyle habits. Researchers awarded one point for each positive habit, such as exercise, not being obese, and consuming fatty acids, for example.

In the study, 576 cases of lethal prostate cancer occurred in one group of men and 337 cases in another. Participants with five to six points in the first group of health professionals had a reduction of lethal prostate cancer by 68 percent, and the second group of physicians saw a reduction of 38 percent.

Lead author Stacey Kenfield said, “We estimated that 47 percent of lethal prostate cancer cases would be prevented in the United States if men over 60 had five or more of these healthy habits. It’s interesting that vigorous activity had the highest potential impact on prevention of lethal prostate cancer. We calculated the population-attributable risk for American men over 60 and estimated that 34 percent of lethal prostate cancer would be reduced if all men exercised to the point of sweating for at least three hours a week.”

Along with protecting the men from lethal prostate cancer, the healthy lifestyle habits also protected the men against heart disease and diabetes. Lifestyle habits are well-known risk factors that contribute to either disease.

This is another study that reaffirms the importance of eating well, not smoking, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight as a means to extending life longevity and improving health outcomes.

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