Football helps 'improve physical wellbeing of prostate cancer patients'
Article date: 23 June 2014
With the FIFA World Cup currently in full swing in Brazil, it would seem only fitting that new research has been revealed to emphasise how football can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of cancer patients.
Scientists in Denmark, at The Copenhagen University Hospital, have released a report into a study that examined what effect - if any - playing the sport would have on men with prostate cancer aged between 43 and 74. They had been undergoing treatment for the disease for an average of three years.
They found that the result was a significantly positive one, bringing about health benefits as well as boosting the participants' social interactions.
One of the main plus points the researchers observed was that the patients developed bigger, stronger muscles, despite undergoing anti-hormone treatment.
"Androgen deprivation therapy through medical castration is an effective treatment of prostate cancer patients but has adverse effects in the form of reduced muscle mass, higher fat percentage and reduced physical activity," said professor Peter Krustrup, who began the study and had been investigating the benefits of recreational football for ten years.
The participants formed their own football team, known as FC Prostate, attending a 12-week course of training sessions. Each meeting lasted an hour and took place twice a week. During this period, their muscle mass increased by an average of half a kilogramme.
Organisers were keen not to 'go easy' on the participants and described the practices as "intense", with an average heart rate of 85 per cent of the patients' maximum.
Another benefit was that they regained a sense of body pride, something that people who have developed the disease can struggle with.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK, with official figures suggesting more than 40,000 cases are diagnosed in the country every year.