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Exercise overcomes drug side-effects

Prostate cancer patients undergoing hormone therapy now have a way of reducing the unwelcome side effects — regular exercise.

Androgen deprivation therapy is a common and effective approach in prostate cancer treatment but often results in weight gain and heart problems.

Researchers from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and University of East Anglia undertook a fifty patient trial with half of the participants taking part in two supervised exercise sessions a week for three months.

The findings, which have been published in the British Journal of Urology International, showed that the three month programme of aerobic and resistance training prevented adverse changes in cardiopulmonary fitness and fatigue for those taking part in the trial.

Prof John Saxton, from UEA's Norwich Medical School said that hormone treatments for prostate cancer are known to have undesirable side-effects, which increase a man's susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.

"This research shows that some of the harmful side-effects of hormone therapy are reduced in men who begin to exercise regularly around the same time that these drugs are prescribed,” he said.

"Our findings have important implications for the quality of prostate cancer survival," he added.

Wilphard Ndjavera, Clinical Fellow for Urology at NNUH, said: "All the patients really enjoyed the sessions and the results have suggested that exercise does work to reduce these harmful side effects of treatment."

"After the supervised exercise was withdrawn, differences in cardiopulmonary fitness and fatigue were not sustained, but the exercise group showed higher quality of life and reduced cardiovascular risk compared to the control group."

"These findings have important implications for clinicians concerned with the management of ADT-related side-effects."