HealthWatch: Exercise May Help Prostate Cancer Patients Live Longer

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Prostate Cancer. (AP)

Prostate Cancer. (AP)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — More than 2 million men currently live with prostate cancer in the United States. Now, new Bay Area research shows how certain exercise may actually help them live a long, healthier life.

David Perez is the picture of health: slim, trim and full of vibrant energy.

“I feel fantastic,” said Perez.

It might be surprising to know that Perez is living with prostate cancer. The 53-year-old was diagnosed nearly 2 years ago

“It was relatively slow growing. We caught it early,” said Perez.

Instead of surgery or radiation, Perez opted for “active surveillance”. His doctors at UCSF Medical Center are closely monitoring his cancer for any signs of progression before they take aggressive action.

Perez is also taking certain steps to keep his cancer at bay.

“I’m working out almost every single day,” said Perez.

That kind of work is paying off. A new UCSF report found men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer could inhibit or delay their disease from progressing if they walk at a brisk pace for at least 3 hours a week.

“It was a 57 percent reduced risk,” said Dr. Erin Richman, who headed up the study.

Richman said that vigorous exercise, such as a brisk walk, can make your body less hospitable to prostate cancer growth by reducing insulin levels, as well as a certain growth factor in addition to dampening inflammation.

But how vigorous is vigorous?

“The idea is to increase your breathing and your heart rate,” said Richman. “If you are walking with a companion, you could have a conversation, but you might have to catch your breath every few sentences.”

“Most any man can achieve this sort of exercise,” said Dr. Peter Carroll, a prostate cancer specialist at UCSF and chair of the Department of Urology.

Carroll said the number one cause of death in men with prostate cancer is not prostate cancer, but cardiovascular disease. Exercise turns out to be good for both no matter how advanced the cancer.

“It makes a lot of sense it decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, people feel good about themselves and they feel better about standard treatment,” said Carroll.

As for Dave Perez, he is also eating more fruits and vegetables, and is trying to keep stress free. He told CBS 5 HealthWatch that his routine works. The blood test doctors use to monitor his cancer is showing dramatically better results

“You can make a huge difference in what’s going on in your own body, changing the whole environment in your body just by making these subtle changes,” Perez said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
HealthWatch: Exercise May Help Prostate Cancer Patients Live Longer

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