It is estimated that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Radical prostatectomy is the most common therapy for prostate cancer. Another common prostate cancer therapy is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) which reduces the amount of testosterone produced. These prostate cancer therapies can be effective in treating the cancer however they can be accompanied by side effects and complications for the men undergoing them.
Complications of Treatment for Prostate Cancer
More than 80% of patients have reported urinary incontinence 1 month after radical prostatectomy. Urinary incontinence can affect patients’ activities of daily living and quality of life.
Men undergoing ADT can experience side effects such as reduced fitness, loss of bone and muscle mass, increased fatigue and weight gain.
The Role of Exercise Therapy in Cancer Rehabilitation
Exercise is an important adjunction therapy to prostate cancer therapies.
The benefits of exercise for people with cancer include:
- Improved muscle strength and fitness
- Improved bone density retention
- Improved function for ADLs and quality of life
- Improved immune function
- Improved cancer therapy completion rates
- Reduced emotional stress, depression and anxiety
- Reduced cancer related fatigue
- Reduced rate of prostate cancer mortality
- Increase cancer survival rates
Exercise for prostate cancer needs to be appropriately prescribed by a health professional.
Specific exercise for urinary incontinence after a prostatectomy is most commonly prescribed in the form of pelvic floor muscle exercise. Research suggests that pelvic floor muscle exercise is an economical and safe therapy for patients, however, to correctly isolate and contract these muscles patients require the guidance of a professional therapist.
Patients who completed guided pelvic floor exercise had a higher rate of continence at 1, 3, 4, 6 and 12 months after the prostatectomy surgery.
The PHIT Exercise Class
The PHIT exercise class is a progressive 20-week program designed specifically for prostate cancer survivors post prostatectomy. The class is 45 minutes in duration and is guided by an accredited exercise physiologist. The class includes:
- Warm- up component
- Pelvic floor specific exercises
- Resistance exercises
- Balance exercises
- Cool down and stretching component
If you are interested in our PHIT classes please don’t hesitate to contact us at Burleigh Heads Physiotherapy on 5535 5218.
Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA). (2019). Exercise and Cancer. [online]
Zeng, T., Wu, M., Wang, C., Xiao, Q., & Peng, C. (2019). The therapeutic effect of pelvic floor muscle exercise on urinary incontinence after radical prostatectomy: a meta-analysis. Asian Journal Of Andrology, 21(2), 170. doi: 10.4103/aja.aja_89_18 Online
Exercise is Medicine Australia. (2014).
Prostate Cancer and Exercise. [online]