For men with prostate cancer, clinician referral to and participation in an exercise program has a positive impact on mental health, according to a study published in Cancer.
Patricia M. Livingston, Ph.D., from Deakin University in Burwood, Australia, and colleagues conducted a multicenter cluster randomized controlled trial involving 15 clinicians.
Eight clinicians were randomized to refer eligible participants with prostate cancer to a 12-week exercise program (two supervised gym sessions and one home-based session; 54 patients) and seven were randomized to follow usual care (93 patients).
The researchers identified a significant intervention effect for vigorous-intensity exercise (effect size: Cohen’s d, 0.46; P = 0.01), but not for combined moderate and vigorous exercise levels (effect size: d, 0.08: P = 0.48).
Meeting exercise guidelines (≥150 minutes/week) was also associated with significant intervention effects (odds ratio, 3.9); positive intervention effects were seen for cognitive functioning (effect size: d, 0.34; P = 0.06) and depression symptoms (effect size: d −0.35; P = 0.06) in the intervention group.
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Eighty percent of participants reported that their decision to participate in the exercise program was influenced by the clinician’s referral.
“Further research is needed to determine the sustainability of the exercise program and its generalizability to other cancer populations,” the authors write.