“In our study, a program of high-intensity interval training provided significant mental and physical health benefits for men who chose active monitoring for the primary management of prostate cancer. low-grade paralysis”, senior author Kerry S. Courneya, PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
“These findings may be particularly important for the group of patients who switch to surgery or other treatment because of anxiety or fear that their prostate cancer will progress during active follow-up.” The research was led by Dong-Woo Kang, PhD, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.
Psychological benefits of exercise training during AS on prostate cancer
Active surveillance (AS) is used as a way to monitor slow-growing, “low-risk,” or localized prostate cancer rather than treating it right away. Men who choose AS typically undergo regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, prostate exams, imaging tests, and repeat biopsies to carefully monitor the growth or progression of prostate cancer. prostate cancer without affecting long-term outcomes. The aim of AS is to avoid or delay unnecessary treatment and its side effects.
Understandably, many men experience increased anxiety and fear about cancer progression while they are in the AS stage, which can reduce their quality of life (QOL). These concerns lead some patients to turn to definitive treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy – even though their cancer has not progressed.
“Interventions to reduce anxiety and fear about cancer progression in these men could improve QOL and reduce their likelihood of choosing medically unnecessary treatments.” “, Dr. Courneya and co-authors write.
In a study called the ERASE (Exercise During Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer) trial, researchers evaluated a program of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise. 12-week, supervised treatment for men with AS. Published last year, the primary study results showed a significant improvement in cardiovascular fitness and a reduction in PSA levels in men participating in the exercise program.
Can exercise also reduce anxiety and fear in AS? Dr. Courneya and colleagues performed a secondary analysis of these and other mental health outcomes among ERASE Trial participants. The analysis included 25 men assigned to an exercise program and a control group of 25 patients receiving usual care.
The HIIT program has resulted in improvements in key patient-reported outcomes. Findings included a small but significant reduction in prostate cancer-related anxiety: a difference of about 3 points on a 54-point scale. Fear of cancer progression showed a reduction greater: 2 points on a 12-point scale.
Participants in exercise had improved hormonal symptoms such as lack of energy, feeling depressed, or changes in body weight. The HIIT program has also been associated with reduced stress and fatigue and significant increases in self-esteem. The QOL assessments show a “limited” significant increase in overall health status and emotional functioning.
Active surveillance has become an increasingly popular option for men with early-stage prostate cancer. However, recent studies have shown that many patients switch from AS to definitive treatment within a few years – sometimes with no evidence of cancer progression. Our findings may be particularly relevant for a small subset of AS patients who choose radical treatments that control their pain, the researchers write.
Dr Courneya commented: “Previous reports have suggested that exercise may help manage anxiety in other groups of cancer patients, but our study is the first to show an improvement. improvement in anxiety and fear about cancer progression for men choosing AS”. The researchers call for larger studies to confirm their findings and demonstrate the long-term physical and mental health benefits of exercise for this growing group of patients.