Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is important for a couple of main reasons:

  1. It marks the beginning of spring (and hopefully warmer weather)
  2. It’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Seeing as the weather is impossibly unpredictable in Melbourne, let’s focus on men’s health for today…

The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut that sits underneath the urinary bladder in men. It surrounds the urethra and has a role in producing the fluid portion of semen. The prostate commonly becomes enlarged as men age and due to its relationship with the urethra, can create problems when urinating. [1] It is important to differentiate between this slow growth and the pathology of Prostate Cancer.

Firstly, benign prostate enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia- BHP) occurs in approximately 50% of men in their 50’s. There are many factors that influence the prevalence of this condition including genetics, diet and lifestyle. BHP can commonly affect urinary function and less commonly may cause erectile dysfunction. [2]

Prostate Cancer, on the other hand, affects 1 in 7 men at the age of 75 and this risk increases with age. [1]

  1.  In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men
  2.  More than 3,000 men die prostate cancer in Australia every year
  3.  More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer

Men who have a family history of prostate cancer have a higher risk of developing this disease. Many of the symptoms of prostate cancer are the same as benign prostate enlargement such as discomfort when urinating or difficulty starting/stopping. Symptoms also include the presence of blood in the urine, pain in the low back or hips and loss of bodyweight. [1]

senior fitness

There are two main risk factors for prostate cancer – your age and your family history. So, if you are a male and you have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above you should talk to your GP and see if you are at risk.

As with many other diseases, the best protection against prostate cancer is to eat a nutritious diet and exercise regularly. So, whether you are at a higher risk of the disease or not, the best thing you can do is to eat well and move often!

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it can be managed no initial treatment, active surveillance by your GP, or active treatment by a specialist. Active treatment may include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or surgery; the most appropriate method is determined on an individual basis.

The good news is that the 1- and 5-year survival rate are 98% and 92% respectively!

Exercise Physiology is an excellent form of prehabilitation – before treatment – and rehabilitation – after treatment – for prostate cancer. Some excellent work done by Australian researchers has shown exercise can:

  • Reverse muscle loss [3] [4] [5]
  • Reverse bone mineral density loss [3] [4] [5]
  • Improve energy levels [5]
  • Is safe for prostate cancer with metastases [6]


If you have recently been diagnosed, or undergoing treatment for or recovering from prostate cancer, talk to one of our Exercise Physiologists about getting a tailored exercise program to be back to your best… 03 8370 3044





[2] Lim, K. B. (2017). Epidemiology of clinical benign prostatic hyperplasia. Asian Journal of Urology, 4(3), 148–151.


[4] Sweegers MG, Altenburg TM, Brug J, et al. Effects and moderators of exercise on muscle strength, muscle function and aerobic fitness in patients with cancer: a meta-analysis of individual patient data. 

[5] Hart, N. H., Galvão, D. A., & Newton, R. U. (2017). Exercise medicine for advanced prostate cancer. Current opinion in supportive and palliative care, 11(3), 247-257.

[6] Galvao, D. A., Taaffe, D. R., Spry, N., Cormie, P., Joseph, D., Chambers, S. K., … & Newton, R. U. Efficacy and safety of a modular multi-modal exercise program in prostate cancer patients with bone metastases: a randomized controlled trial. BJU International 120, 14.

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