Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Why not?
Can an active lifestyle protect a man from prostate cancer? Research reported in the journal Cancer Causes and Control (Volume 19, page 107) suggests that it might …
Much effort has been devoted to searching for lifestyle or environmental factors that might serve as promoters for prostate cancer. The incidence of microscopic prostate cancer (cancers too small to be seen except under a microscope) is similar among men in the United States and in all other countries that have been examined. However, the mortality rates from prostate cancer differ from one country to another and even within different regions of the United States.
These differences suggest that factors such as diet, exercise, body weight, or exposure to certain substances or forces influence prostate cancer’s progression from microscopic tumors to clinically significant ones. Some factors are believed to encourage the growth of prostate cancer, whereas others may have a protective effect.
A long-term study of men working in the aerospace industry suggests that having a physically active job may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by nearly half.
Researchers studied the effects of occupational physical activity on prostate cancer risk among 2,167 men who had worked at a nuclear and rocket engine testing facility in Southern California between the 1950s and 1990s. Over a 10-year period between January 1988 and December 1999, 362 of the men developed prostate cancer.
Compared with men who did not develop the prostate cancer, these men were more likely to have had sedentary jobs that mainly involved sitting. Sedentary jobs included positions such as managers, data analysts, inspectors, administrators, and senior engineers. Jobs requiring high levels of continuous activity included positions like junior mechanics, patrolmen, firemen, electricians, janitors, truck-lift operators, and welders.
Bottom line: The researchers speculated that men who are continually active during the day may have lower levels of androgens (male hormones), which can be altered with physical activity. If you have a sedentary job, try to compensate by engaging in regular exercise and physically challenging sports or hobbies. It’s good for your heart and could help your prostate as well.