Beginning a supervised exercise program before the start of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer reduced the incidence of treatment-related side effects, researchers reported in a study published in BJU International.

Researchers introduced the exercise program to 50 men prior to them beginning prostate cancer treatment with ADT. The intervention consisted of two, 60-minute weekly sessions combining aerobic and resistance exercises for three months, followed by three months of self-directed exercise at home.

They found that the supervised exercise programs improved patients’ fatigue, cardiopulmonary fitness, cardiovascular risk profile, and quality of life. However, the improvements in cardiopulmonary fitness and fatigue did not continue in the self-directed exercise period. The researchers acknowledged that sustaining the exercise program was important because ADT’s side effects continue throughout treatment.

“In older people we often see reductions in strength and physical function just three months after halting supervised exercise. They may stop exercising because of cost or other reasons,” the authors said. “A more pragmatic approach such as home-based exercise or a shorter period of supervision with follow-on remote support could help get around these restrictions and provide measurable benefits to prostate cancer sufferers.”