Loading the player...Prostate Cancer - Treating Muscle Weakness BSc Kin, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, talks about how men with prostate cancer can prevent muscle weakness with exercise prescriptions.
Nick Pratap, BSc Kin, Clinical Exercise Physiologist Prostate Cancer - Treating muscle weakness
There’s no question that prostate cancer treatments can be accompanied by significant side effects for men. Androgen deprivation therapy or ADT, for example, can potentially result in a reduction of muscle mass, unwanted weight gain and increased risk of osteoporosis. If a patient is undergoing radiation therapy, this can also cause major fatigue. For these reasons, physicians may refer patients to qualified clinical exercise physiologists to use exercise as a tool to help manage these side effects.
During the initial consultation, a clinical exercise physiologist will collect the patient’s medical history. This includes cancer treatments, musculoskeletal limitations, comorbidities and activity level. If bone metastasis are present, information regarding the specific site, pain with movement and type of lesion will also be discussed. The patient may be asked to perform exercise tests including balance and strength to determine baseline markers.
This information is then used to create an exercise prescription. The main areas of focus will include aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance.
Aerobic exercise is a cornerstone in any exercise prescription. The guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate or 75min of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. It can be helpful to focus on activities patients enjoy, whether it be walking, cycling or dancing to name a few.
Patients on ADT can have an accelerated reduction in muscle mass and strength. This is often combined with the steady decline in strength that comes with aging. In these patients, it’s recommended to perform strength training 2-3x/week, on non-consecutive days, targeting the major muscles of the body to maintain strength and lean muscle. This can be done using traditional weights, or more simply their own bodyweight.
Any movement is better than no movement and reducing sedentary behaviour is important. This is shown to be a major factor in helping reduce fatigue in many cancer patients. Getting up every hour and walking around for a few minutes has significant benefit. This keeps the body engaged, improves circulation and blood flow and keeps muscles active throughout the day.
Muscle stiffness and bad posture can lead to unwanted joint pain and potential injury. Working with a clinical exercise physiologist to devise a routine that improves flexibility through stretching can be helpful. Examples include traditional Yoga, or a full body stretch.
Many hospital visits among seniors are due to falls. And patients on ADT who develop osteoporosis are at increased risk of fractures. Therefore, improving balance is critical for fall prevention. A clinical exercise physiologist can suggest balance exercises suitable for you.
If you have further questions about prostate cancer treatments and how a clinical exercise physiologist can help, please don’t hesitate to speak to your family physician or prostate cancer specialist.
Local Practitioners: Kinesiologist
This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.