Decades ago, doctors recommended rest for cancer patients. Today, there is no doubt that exercise is helping people cope with cancer. It is known that physically active people are less likely to develop cancer. Those who exercise frequently have better outcomes after treating the disease. Much remains unknown, however, including which exercises are most beneficial.
- relief of anxiety and depression;
- reduction of weakness;
- improving the quality of life during and after treatment;
- prevention of lymphatic edema;
- improvement of physical abilities, muscle strength;
- improving cognitive abilities;
- prevention of insomnia;
- reducing the risk of cancer recurrence.
In a new study, the researchers sought to clarify exactly which mechanisms link exercise to better cancer outcomes. They followed up with 10 prostate cancer patients who were on antiandrogen therapy. This is the name of the type of treatment for this tumor, in which the action of male sex hormones on the prostate is blocked.
The study participants were assigned a 12-week course of exercise along with their usual treatment. It included various types of exercises: aerobic, strength and balance. Along with this, they received protein food supplements, the calorie content of their diet was controlled.
The study focused on blood myokine levels. These are proteins that muscles make during exercise. The authors of the study became interested in them, therefore, a number of their beneficial properties were previously known, including the effect on immunity.
Scientists performed blood tests on participants before and after the 12-week exercise course. They found that their myokine levels increased significantly during this time. To clarify the effect of these substances, scientists conducted experiments in which they exposed this blood to cultures of cancer cells in the laboratory.
“When we took blood from them before and after exercise and placed live prostate cancer cells into it, we found a significant suppression of the growth of these cells with blood from the second portion. The effect was quite significant, which shows that prolonged exercise creates an environment in the body that inhibits cancer growth, ”said Robert Newton of the Australian University Edith Cowan, co-author of the study.
The scientists noted that myokines do not appear to kill cancer cells directly: they signal the T cells to attack the cancerous tissue. Researchers expect this mechanism to spread to different tumors.