Testicular cancer survivors benefit greatly from strenuous exercise

Testicular cancer survivors benefit greatly from strenuous exercise
© iStock/Jenny_Hill.

A new study has found that high-intensity interval training helps reduce tiredness and improves self-esteem for those who’ve survived testicular cancer.

The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found that men who had received treatment for testicular cancer and had the lowest level of fitness benefitted the most from high-intensity interval training.

63 testicular cancer survivors were invited to participate in a 12-week exercise programme which included various speeds, terrains and inclines on a treadmill.

Improved vitality

Significant improvements in energy levels and self-esteem were reported by the men, compared to those who just received their usual follow-up care. They also felt less tired and had more vitality three months later.

In the UK alone, 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year, and it is most common in their early 30s. The most likely experience for patients is treatment-related fatigue.

The benefit of increasing fitness levels

Professor Kerry S Courneya, senior author of the study based at the University of Alberta, Canada, said: “This small study shows the men who had the biggest increase in fitness saw the greatest benefits. This indicates higher intensity exercise, which increases fitness levels, has more impact than more moderate activity.

“What’s so exciting is that this programme would be easy to introduce to patients as it’s as simple as jogging for two minutes and walking for two minutes. It can also be specifically targeted at men who aren’t fit and suffer with tiredness.”

A simple solution

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK head information nurse, said: “This adds to the increasing evidence that exercise programmes can improve wellbeing and fatigue after cancer treatment.

“Tiredness can be really debilitating for patients, so it is great that simple and specific ways to help combat this are being explored.”

In males in the UK, testicular cancer is the 17th most common cancer.

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