Exercise Linked with Reduced Prostate Cancer Risk in Caucasians but Not African Americans

First Posted: Feb 11, 2013 12:39 AM EST

 A new study suggests that exercise may help reduce Caucasian men's risk of developing prostate cancer. Even better, among Caucasian men who do have prostate cancer, exercise may reduce their risk of having more serious forms of the disease. Unfortunately, the benefits do not seem to apply to African-American men.

The study, published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, examines the research of the study.

Previous research shows that though exercise in general can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, African-American men have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer and of dying from the disease when compared with Caucasian men.

Lionel L. Banez, MD, of the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and his colleagues, asked 307 men (164 white; 143 black) undergoing a prostate biopsy to complete a survey that assessed their exercise amounts per week. Exercise categories included sedentary, mildly active, moderately active and highly active. Among Caucasians, men who were moderately or highly active were the less likely to have biopsy results indicating that they had prostate cancer when compared with those who were sedentary or mildly active, at 53 percent. This association was not seen in black men, however.

Researchers also looked to see if exercise influenced the grade of tumors detected when developing in prostate cancer. The same was true that when greater amounts of exercise were applied, the less risk there was for prostate cancer. However, when race was applied to the same research, the results had no bearings on African Americans.

"These findings that African-American men may not benefit from exercise the way Caucasian men do could be a contributor to why African- American race is a risk factor for prostate cancer and aggressive prostate cancer. Further studies are needed to investigate the mechanism behind this racial disparity in deriving cancer-related benefits from exercise which disfavors African-American men," said Dr. Bañez.

To find out more about the study, see the press release.

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