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Exercise May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

Men who don’t want to count themselves among the 220,000 Americans diagnosed with prostate cancer each and every year may find working up a sweat helps them lower risk for this potentially fatal disease. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have found that men who incorporate vigorous exercise and other smart and healthy habits into their routines may cut their risk of developing a particularly lethal type of prostate cancer by as much as 68 percent.

Results of the multi-year study were released recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Center Institute. To arrive at their findings, researchers at UCSF tracked tens of thousands of men in midlife and older for more than 20 years. The data used came from two separate studies that were conducted between the 1980s and 2010.

Researchers who dove into the data found that healthy lifestyle habits, such as living tobacco-free, avoiding obesity and eating well made a big difference in cancer incidence rates. The researchers also found that vigorous physical activity, however, seemed to trump all other lifestyle factors when it came to decreasing risk for developing a particularly lethal form of the disease. The study authors also pointed to the benefits of these healthier habits in preventing other serious diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

With an estimated one in seven men diagnosed with prostate cancer, taking positive steps to lower risks is deemed important for all men as they approach middle age. While eating right, exercising and kicking tobacco habits may not guarantee a prostate-cancer-free existence, they can help lower chances.

Men who are middle age or are approaching it are urged to talk openly with their healthcare providers about their prostate cancer risks. Routine screening for men who are deemed at low risk for the disease should begin around the age of 50. Men who are at higher risk may find that screening in their cases should begin earlier.