Prostate Cancer Decreases with Fitness  


Prostate cancer occurs at lower rates and has reduced mortality in those who are physically active. 

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to afflict American men, with one in six men being diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime. Adding it all up, over 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Fortunately, the prognosis of prostate cancer is relatively good, especially if diagnosed early. Nonetheless, prostate cancer remains the second most common cause of cancer death in males (second to lung cancer, the number one cause of cancer fatalities in both men and women, but ahead of colorectal cancer). 

Risk factors for prostate cancer include increased age and black race. Asian men are at reduced risk. In addition to their higher incidence of prostate cancer, black men tend to develop more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. These risk factors are not modifiable, are there any modifiable risk factors?

Diet and exercise have both been found to be associated with risk of developing prostate cancer. Diets high in fat have been shown to increase risk of prostate cancer. One epidemiological study found Hawaiians were far more likely to develop prostate cancer if they had high dietary intake of beef or high-animal fat products (Animal fat consumption and prostate cancer: a prospective study in Hawaii, 1994. Le Marchand, et al.). Subsequent studies have supported this association between high-fat diet and prostate cancer. 

Two studies have found prostate cancer to be reduced with physical activity. Although smoking has been linked with many cancer, it has not been linked with prostate cancer. One study found that there was a reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer in individuals who reported participating in vigorous physical activity. (Does physical activity reduce the risk of prostate cancer? A systemic review and meta-analysis, 2011. Liu, et al.). This link was particularly strong for individuals who reported physical activity at work. Another study demonstrated a reduced risk of fatal prostate cancer in individuals who reported physical activity (Risk factors for prostate cancer incidence and progression in the health professionals follow-up study, 2007. Giovannucci, et al.).

Although smoking has been linked with many types of cancer, it has not been linked with prostate cancer. 

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