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25 March 2019

Exercise is being teamed up with drug therapy to see if it can become a potent weapon against prostate cancer.

While androgen deprivation therapy has proven to be a strong way to reduce deaths from prostate cancer, its side effects can lead to men suffering symptoms of heart disease five to 10 times earlier than those without prostate cancer.

But in a new research study, Melbourne scientists are trying to determine if combining exercise with the hormone therapy can improve the heart’s structure and function, so the patient can overcome prostate cancer without any impact on their cardiovascular health.

Ashley Bigaran, lead researcher of the joint Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Australian Catholic University study, said it would first determine if ADT was leading to changes in the structure of men’s hearts and secondly whether any changes could be overcome with exercise.

“We are trying to understand the middle ground, and that is whether there is some kind of change in the heart’s shape and size, and whether this is putting men with prostate cancer initiating hormone therapy at a greater risk of ­cardiovascular events,” Ms ­Bigaran said.

“We know that exercise, if we prescribe it specifically in a targeted way, that we can ­remodel the heart favourably.”

Ten Australian men die from prostate cancer each day, while one is diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes.

Original article, The Herald Sun, 25 March 2019