04 June 2021

Why 45 sit-ups a day can make a difference

By Russell Briggs
Manager, Nursing Programs

Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men – 1 in 6 men will receive the devastating news in their lifetime that they have prostate cancer. I worked as a Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse for many years before joining PCFA, and have seen first-hand the toll that prostate cancer can have on those diagnosed.

Whilst the 5-year survival rate remains one of the highest of all cancers at 95%, a man diagnosed with prostate cancer will likely suffer physical and psychological side effects from the diagnosis and subsequent treatments.

Physical side effects can include urinary incontinence, bowel disturbance and erectile dysfunction. In addition to this, research has demonstrated that the psychological impacts of prostate cancer are far greater than previously thought and men with prostate cancer have a 70% higher risk of suicide than men without this diagnosis.

In recent years, there has been a lot of research conducted into the health benefits exercise can play in men suffering prostate cancer, and all cancers for that matter. One study identified that inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths, and another demonstrates that low fitness was a far greater contributor to deaths in men and women than obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes combined, and almost double that of smoking.

The benefits of exercise are clear and regular physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of some cancers by up to 50% (colon), depression by 30% and dementia by 30%.

With the known psychological impact from a diagnosis of prostate cancer, it is strongly encouraged that all men should look to include exercise into their lifestyle.

In addition to the recognised health benefits, exercise can also be a good way for men to do something positive for the mind and body whilst awaiting treatments for prostate cancer. The time whilst awaiting surgery can be an excellent time for a man to increase his fitness level giving him greater preparedness for his surgery and enabling some weight loss at the same time. In addition, exercise will help to minimise physical side effects from Androgen Deprivation therapy and help with tolerating other treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and coping with side effects from these.

As an organisation, PCFA is leading the way this Men’s Health week and encouraging people to increase their physical activity through our Sit-Up 45 Challenge. Please show your support by doing 45 sits ups per day for the 45 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each day.

You can register to get involved at www.situp45.org.au to get active – your mind and body will thank you, and you’ll be making a tangible difference to men impacted by prostate cancer.