Taking Advantage of the Teachable Moment at Initial Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer-Results of a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Supervised Exercise Training


Background: Increased physical activity (PA) levels are associated with improved prostate cancer (PCa) outcomes. Sustainable PA has been linked to improved health-related quality of life (QoL) in cancer patients. The time of diagnosis of PCa may offer a critical time point when patients might be more likely to consider lifestyle changes. This, in turn, may contribute to sustainable PA and its likely benefits.

Objective: The aims of this study were to determine if a structured PA intervention introduced at the time of diagnosis can (1) lead to sustainable PA and (2) help improve psychosocial and QoL outcomes as compared with usual PA.

Interventions/methods: This was a pilot randomized controlled trial enrolling patients with intermediate-risk PCa into either arm A (supervised 8- to 12-week physical exercise program; n = 10) or control arm B (usual PA; n = 10). Primary outcome was PA at 6 months. Secondary outcomes were QoL, psychological well-being, physical fitness, and functional outcomes postintervention. Change over time was compared using a nonparametric Wilcoxon test.

Results: Demographic variables were the same between arms. Comparing parameters at the start and 6 months post-radical prostatectomy, PA significantly improved in arm A (self-reported Godin score 24.7 vs 42.8 units, P < .01, objective number of chair stands [14-19, P < .01]), but not in arm B. There were no significant differences between arms in QoL and psychosocial outcomes.

Conclusions: A preoperative supervised exercise training program increases long-term PA.

Implications for practice: Future trials should evaluate PA sustainability beyond 6 months and if this leads to improved psychosocial and QoL outcomes.