Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

Why is Cardiorespiratory Fitness Important to Prostate Cancer Risk?

Posted by Total Access Medical on Feb 27, 2024

Cardio Exercise

Men who improve their fitness might lower their odds of getting prostate cancer, according to a new Swedish study.

Specifically, improving cardiorespiratory fitness by 3% or more annually over three years reduced the chances of men developing prostate cancer by 35%, compared to those whose fitness dropped by 3% each year. 

This shows that no matter what age, no matter where you are in your life or your relative fitness, that if you improve your fitness, even by a relatively small amount, you may significantly decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer. 

Why is cardiorespiratory fitness important to prostate cancer risk?

A benefit from cardiorespiratory fitness would mostly be due to being healthier in general.

High blood pressure and obesity are risk factors that can contribute to different oncologic potential.

Specifically, greater cardiac fitness is generally tied to greater overall fitness which is then tied to decreased abdominal fat, decreased weight, less insulin resistance, i.e. less type 2 diabetes, and improved cholesterol profiles.

The common thread is chronic systemic inflammation, which is a risk factor for both cancer as well as heart disease.

Interestingly, cardiac disease is the leading cause of death in men with prostate cancer.

What are the signs of prostate cancer?

Most symptoms of prostate cancer occur when the disease has progressed to a later stage.

People may experience different symptoms of prostate cancer. Some people do not have symptoms at all. Others might experience blood in their semen or a change in sexual function, such as erectile dysfunction or painful ejaculation.

Other symptoms may include:

  • a painful or burning sensation during urination
  • difficulty initiating urination
  • trouble emptying the bladder completely
  • frequent urination, especially at night
  • persistent pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
  • a weak or interrupted flow of urine

It is important to remember that other conditions are more likely to cause many of these symptoms. For example, difficulty urinating can develop due to a benign tumor called prostatic hyperplasia.

Despite this, a person should contact a doctor if they experience symptoms of prostate cancer.

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