There was a news item on the BBC Today programme Thursday last week on some research being done on any possible connection with exercise and the speed of development of prostate cancer in men that have been diagnosed with a Gleason score of 6 or 7 and on active surveillance. This is the PANTERA study. Details of the study and how to volunteer to be a subject can be found on the Cancer Research website. I fit the criteria to join the trial on every count except I already exercise beyond the maximum specified in advance of the study, more than 90 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. However, I was sufficiently interested to contact the lead researcher, Liam Bourke, by email. I asked if there if there is any information on the exercise regime required of the supervised group and whether they will be given any advice on nutrition. I was also interested in the conduct of the trial, in particular how if at all the ‘self-help’ group will be monitored for any level of activity they may decide to adopt in the light of the information pack you will be giving them and what that information pack consists of.
Dr. Bourke’s reply contained details of the exercise regime: Participants will be asked to attend two group-based supervised exercise sessions a week, comprising up to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise. Exercise intensity will be 65% to 85% of age predicted maximum heart rate or 12 to 17 on the Borg rating of perceived exertion scale, in episodes of 20-30 minutes of continuous exercise for the first 8 weeks, progressing up to 45 minutes per session thereafter. Gym based aerobic exercise training will be conducted using standard ergometers e.g. stationary cycles, rowing ergometers or treadmills. In addition, men are required to undertake self-directed two exercise episodes of up to 30 minutes per week, using an exercise log book and heart rate monitor to objectively record independent exercise behaviour and support adherence and compliance. They won’t be providing any nutrition interventions. The care pack for subjects in the group not undertaking regular supervised sessions is the standard Macmillan move more information pack, available free from McMillan Cancer Support. This comparison group’s exercise behaviour will be checked via standard questionnaires and any change in fitness by sub-maximal treadmill testing.
I have now joined the gym at my squash club and aim to replicate the 2 supervised sessions a week 20-30 minutes for 8 weeks and thereafter building to 45 minutes. I will not do the additional unsupervised sessions of 30 minutes per week as I think I will already be doing enough with cycling, walking and racketball!