With the month of November upon us, it’s time to grow those glorious mo’s and have those much-needed conversations surrounding men’s health. Prostate cancer is a big part of men’s health, one of which men do not like talk about. This needs to change and the Movember fundraiser not only raises funds but creates these conversations. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Australia with one in five men being diagnosed within their lifetime. When people hear the word ‘cancer’, they often fear the worst. However, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer can live many years without symptoms or the cancer spreading. The key to this is early diagnosis and Movember is a great way to create awareness surrounding prostate cancer.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a small gland that is the size and shape of a walnut. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is part of the male reproductive system, and it helps produce semen, which carries and protects sperm.
Prostate cancer develops when there is uncontrolled and abnormal cell growth of the cells located in the prostate, leading to the development of a cancerous tumour. During the early stages the cancerous cells are localised within the prostate. As prostate cancer advances, the cancer spreads outside to nearby organs and eventually to distant parts of the body.
What do you need to look out for?
- Family history
- African ancestry
- Being over the age of 50
- Frequent urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain while urinating
- Weak stream
- Lower limb weakness
- Lower back or pelvic pain
You’ve just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, what’s next?
There are many different pathways to treat prostate cancer, ranging from active surveillance to radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and surgical intervention through prostatectomy. While these treatment pathways can be effective, they can lead to various side effects. These include:
- Cancer-related fatigue
- Muscle weakness and wastage
- Impaired balance and mobility
- Loss of bone mineral density
- Weight fluctuations
- Urinary incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction, infertility, and reduced libido
- Chemo brain
- Increased risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart attacks
- Impaired mental health
How is exercise going to benefit your prostate cancer?
Exercise is great for improving your mental and physical health. Maintaining an active lifestyle can help fight prostate cancer, reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence, and manage the side effects of treatment.
Exercise has been shown to:
- Manage cancer-related fatigue
- Improve muscle mass and strength
- Improve bone mineral density
- Improve balance and mobility
- Improve urinary and sexual function
- Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
- Improve mental health
The current exercise guidelines are 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week. This includes two or more resistance training sessions consisting of 6-8 exercises of major muscle groups for 1-4 sets of 6-12 repetitions. Exercise may be difficult for those who have excessive fatigue, so it’s important to remember that any movement is better than none, even if it’s broken down into bouts as little as 10 minutes over the course of the day. Let our exercise physiologists help you through your journey and guide you into the right direction.
**If you would like to get involved with Movember you can go to the Movember website and make a donation or contribute in other ways by clicking here.