Men's Health Watch

Published Online: Monday, April 18, 2011
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Exercise Decreases Prostate Cancer Mortality

Physical activity may be the key to long-term survival for prostate cancer patients, new research indicates. Reporting online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of California-San Francisco said that physical activity is associated with an overall lower mortality risk and a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer.

The trial followed 2705 men diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer for a period of 18 years as part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants reported the time they spent exercising each week, including which types of activities they performed. Activities included walking, running, bicycling, swimming, sports, and yard work.

Both moderate and vigorous activity levels decreased overall mortality, according to the report. Men who walked more than 90 minutes per week at an easy to fast pace had a 46% lower risk of dying from any cause compared with those who walked fewer than 90 minutes per week. Only vigorous exercise was proved to lower cancer-related mortality risk. Men who exercised vigorously for more than 3 hours per week had a 61% lower risk of death from prostate cancer compared with those who did so less than 1 hour per week.

Study author Stacey Kenfield, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the results should be used to encourage newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients to adopt an exercise regimen that suits their lifestyles.

Our results suggest that men with prostate cancer should do some physical activity for their overall health, even if it is a small amount,” she said. PT

Counseling Reduces Incontinence After Prostate Surgery

Learning behavioral strategies to cope with incontinence helps men regain bladder control after undergoing radical prostatectomy, according to a study published in January by the Journal of the American Medical Association

Incontinence is a common side effect of prostate surgery, and a variety of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic options are available to treat it. Behavioral therapy typically involves educating patients about pelvic floor anatomy and teaching them exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

The study, led by Patricia Goode, MD, a physician and professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, involved 208 men who suffered from incontinence for more than 1 year postsurgery. Participants were divided into groups and assigned different therapies for an 8-week trial.

Patients in the first group received counseling from health professionals, who taught them how to perform bladder control exercises and other fluid management techniques. The second group received behavioral therapy plus electromyographic biofeedback and daily home pelvic floor electrical stimulation. A comparison group received delayed treatment.

Adding biofeedback and electric stimulation did not significantly enhance the benefits of behavioral therapy. The results showed that almost 16% of men who received behavioral therapy alone showed no signs of incontinence, compared with 17.1% of patients in the biofeedback and electrical stimulation group and 5.9% in the control group.

Dr. Goode concluded that “behavioral therapy should be offered to men with persistent post-prostatectomy incontinence because it can yield significant, durable improvements in incontinence and quality of life, even years after radical prostatectomy.”

Moderate Drinking May Lower Diabetes Risk

New research from the Harvard School of Public Health gives nondrinkers a compelling reason to uncork. According to a study published in the January issue of Diabetes, men who increase their alcohol consumption slightly have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers followed 38,031 men who did not have diabetes or cancer and who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The study population consisted of pharmacists, physicians, and other health professionals who completed detailed surveys every 4 years.

A total of 1905 cases of type 2 diabetes occurred within the 10-year trial period. Men who were light drinkers (consuming less than 5 g per day) at the start of the study and increased their daily intake by about a half a glass (7.5 g) had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than stable light drinkers.

Men who were moderate drinkers throughout the study’s duration also had a 25% lower risk than stable light drinkers. There was no observed benefit to increasing daily alcohol intake to 30 or more grams among men who were light to moderate drinkers at the start of the study.

Pharmacists should note that the benefits aren’t one-sizefits all, and that patients should consult with a physician before increasing their daily intake. “Decisions and recommendations about changes in alcohol consumption should consider the full range of risks and benefits to an individual,” the authors wrote. 



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