WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Regular vigorous exercise may slow progression of prostate cancer and reduce the risk of death from the disease, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.
"Men 65 years or older engaging in at least three hours of vigorous physical activity weekly had a markedly lower risk (almost 70 percent) of being diagnosed as having high-grade, advanced, or fatal prostate cancer," the study authors conclude in the May 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
The Harvard team analyzed data on nearly 48,000 male participants enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The data included information about the average amount of time per week the participants did the following activities: walking or hiking outdoors; jogging; running; bicycling; lap swimming; tennis; squash or racquetball; and calisthenics or rowing.
Over 14 years of follow-up, there were 2,892 new cases of prostate cancer -- including 482 advanced cases -- diagnosed among the participants. Men 65 and older in the highest category of physical activity had a nearly 70 percent lower risk of advanced and fatal prostate cancer. However, this association was not found in younger men, the study said.
"Although the mechanisms still need to be understood, these findings suggest that vigorous activity could slow the progression of prostate cancer and might be recommended to reduce mortality from prostate cancer, particularly given the many other documented benefits of exercise," the researchers conclude.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate cancer.