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Exercise to help during prostate cancer fight

Researchers say exercise could help patients combat the debilitating side effects of prostate cancer treatment.

Victoria University’s Institute for Sport, Exercise & Active Living researcher Dr Erik Hanson said people with cancer suffered both the disease itself and the side effects of treatment including loss of muscle mass and physical strength, weight gain, decreased immune system function, lethargy and depression.

“These side effects can combine to reduce the quality of life for many cancer patients leaving them feeling they’ve had all their strength and motivation sucked out of them,” Dr Hanson said. “The good news is that exercise could be a very strong antidote for most, if not all, of these side effects.”

It’s estimated that 120,000 Australian men are living with prostate cancer, and it is predicted that number will increase to 267,000 by 2017.

Dr Hanson is now leading a pair of studies on men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer to measure how muscles and the immune system respond to bouts of acute exercise.

“Previous research suggests the exercise response in the muscles can be completely normal following resistance training. But it is crucial for us to understand more about these processes to know exactly how effective it is in reducing side effects and allowing patients to live as normally as possible,” Dr Hanson said.

Men between the ages of 40 and 85 undergoing treatment for prostate cancer are invited to take part in the studies at Victoria University’s world-class research labs on the Footscray Park campus, or at Sunshine Hospital’s Centre for Health Research and Education.

Trials will involve single bouts of exercise and tests to measure body composition, fitness, immune system response and muscle function. Participants will be reimbursed for their participation and will also learn more about how their bodies respond to exercise.

Those interested should contact Dr Erik Hanson on 9919 5614 or [email protected] to discuss.


Available for interview (or photo op. in labs):

Dr Erik Hanson, researcher

Institute for Sport, Exercise & Active Living, Victoria University

(03) 9919 5614; 0435 330 049; [email protected]


Media contact:

Michael Quin, Research writer

Public Affairs Department, Victoria University

(03) 9919 9491; 0431 815 409; [email protected]

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