The Institute for Prostate Cancer Research (IPCR), a collaborative effort between the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine, has launched a video series of exercises especially designed to help men with prostate cancer maintain a healthy routine of physical activity.
According to Lauren Brady, PhD, the postdoctoral research fellow at Fred Hutch who led the video series production, exercise can counter some of the negative effects posed by prostate cancer treatment, including its toxicity, as well as reduce its strain on patients’ stress and mental health.
“We hope these videos will allow members of the prostate cancer community to design and maintain an individual exercise routine that suits their abilities, and needs, and provides a supportive resource for improving their overall quality of life,” Brady said in a press release.
Brady explained the idea for these video series came from an exercise breakout session held back in 2019 during IPCR’s annual patient symposium. In this breakout session, Brady and the remaining organizers invited prostate cancer patients to engage in a series of simple exercises and then to complete a questionnaire detailing how they felt about the experience.
According to Brady, many responses suggested a lack of information regarding the possible risks and benefits of exercise for those with prostate cancer. However, nearly all men (91%) stated they felt better in general afterward, Brady said, which led to the next steps.
“To address attendee feedback, we approached Pfizer and were able to collaborate with their “This is Living with Cancer” program to develop a prostate cancer exercise video series to provide information and guides addressing the concerns and requests of members of the prostate cancer community,” Brady said.
They then reached out to several patient advocacy groups leaders to invite men with prostate cancer and their loved ones to participate in the program. “Jack” was one of those who decided to participate in the video series, and has already started to collect some of its benefits.
“When I agreed to participate in the exercise program I was not exercising at all. I would occasionally take walks, mostly a little more than a mile in the neighborhood and about two or at the most three times per week,” Jack said.
“The good news is the pants that I am now able to get into, from a size 42, are back to size 40. At the time of the video I weighed 232 pounds, and I am happy to say I am down to 220, with my clothes on,” he said.
In addition to the video series, Brady said, patients also will have access to a downloadable companion exercise-based pamphlet — currently available in English and Spanish — that can be kept as a hard-copy resource. This may be particularly useful for those who do not have access to the internet at all times, or those who simply prefer to use these type of media.
In the end, the team’s goal is to make their video series accessible to all men with prostate cancer, in hopes to raise awareness on the benefits of physical activity, ease their concerns, and improve their quality of life.
“We hope this project will provide further support to the prostate cancer community as we continue to work with empowered local community and patient advocacy groups to promote patient-driven research and projects that will provide long-term benefits for people living with this disease. Increased awareness of the ways in which exercise — even on a small scale — can improve treatment outcomes may be very impactful,” Brady said.
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