Inactivity and excess sitting is linked to an estimated 100,000 cancer cases a year. Research shows that exercise may prevent prostate cancer.


What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland that produces semen, the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Cancer of the prostate is one of the most common types of cancer in men. There were 46,690 new cases of prostate cancer reported in the UK in 2014. There were over 11,000 deaths associated with prostate cancer in the same year.

Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland. Some types if prostate cancer may need minimal or no treatment, others can be quite aggressive and spread rather quickly. Prostate cancer that is detected early (while confined to the prostate gland) has a much better chance of successful treatment.

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate are mutated. Mutations in these cell’s DNA causes them to grow and divide. These abnormal cells form a tumour that can grow and invade nearby tissue.

Inactivity and Prostate Cancer

Blood levels of a protein called PSA spikes following inactivity. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) has been found in men with low levels of activity.

There is no proof that high PSA levels are a direct cause of cancer, high PSA levels could be a false alarm for prostate cancer. However, a study of men and women aged 50-74 showed that the likelihood of someone dying during a 14-year observation was higher in those who spent six or more hours a day sitting, compared to those who spent less than three hours. The risk was 37% higher for women sitting six or more hours and 18% higher for men.

The message to reduce disease risk used to be ‘exercise, exercise, exercise.’ Now, growing evidence suggests it is also important to avoid prolonged periods of sitting.

Exercise to Prevent Prostate Cancer

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week, or engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days of the week.

Research does not indicate that there is an inverse relationship between physical activity and prostate cancer. It is possible that men who are physically active experience a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer. This may be related to changes in hormones, energy balance, insulin-like growth factors, immunity, and antioxidant defence mechanisms.

Tips for Office Workers

It’s possible even for a commuting, desk-bound office worker to avoid long periods of sitting and in turn prevent prostate cancer.

Here are some tips:

Set a timer on your phone or computer to alert you every 60 minutes to take an exercise break. (A short walk down the hall is enough.)
Ask a colleague to walk with you to talk about a problem or query as opposed to sitting.
During a phone call in your office, stand up and walk around if possible.

Should I Get a PSA test?

PSA testing is useful as it’s the best screening solution. That’s important, because unlike many other cancers, prostate cancer grows silently. Therefore, one may not notice any symptoms until it has spread.

Knowing that our amount of physical activity can affect our PSA levels, doctors should take that into consideration along with previous medication, family history, and prostate exam results when determining who actually needs a prostate biopsy. That means not relying solely on a high PSA number.

PSA levels can provide an important piece of information for the doctor when deciding whether to biopsy the prostate. It just shouldn’t be the only one.

Who We Are

LetsGetChecked empowers you in tracking and improving your health from the comfort of your own home. We are a patient-led, medical technology platform that is giving men and women the power to self-test for a range of health conditions.

From your heart to your hormones and your vitamins to your vitality, LetsGetChecked offers convenient and confidential health tests to everybody, for every body. Using your personalized online profile, you can monitor every aspect of your well-being.

Simply order your test online. Self-collect your sample at home. Return your sample to our accredited laboratories in a pre-paid self-addressed envelope. Receive your results in 2-5 days. LetsGetChecked will support you, every step of the way. In the event that your results are positive or outside a normal range, a fully certified doctor or nurse from the LetsGetChecked medical team will guide you through a personalized treatment program.

It’s good to know.

Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley