Training with Prostate Cancer

author : AMSSM
comments : 0
Member Question

I was diagnosed in December with prostate cancer.  The treatment plan starts with hormone therapy, which means cutting off the production of testosterone.  The next steps involve radiation treatment.  So I have now been one month without testosterone and I think that has been the cause of some physical side affects.  These include muscle soreness, slow recovery after a good work out, cramps, mild muscle pulls, etc.  It is hard to tell how much is related to the hormone situation and how much is just because I went through a couple of months of not working out as much as usual.  But it sure makes it hard to keep a good training program going.   Is my experience normal?  Do you have any workout guidelines during this time?

Answer by Dr. Jeffrey Dela Cruz 
Member AMSSM

Thank you for your question. With the therapy you are going through, your decrease in testosterone will have an effect on your muscle mass, muscle strength, and bone mineral density.  Although the timeline for when your body starts to change its composition is unclear, I would attribute your complaints to a combination of decreased testosterone and your decreased exercise from before. What you are experiencing, therefore, is normal.

With decreased testosterone levels, muscle mass declines and fat mass increases.  One study from 2002 found that patients who underwent androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer experienced an increase in weight, body mass index, and percentage fat body mass after 48 weeks. This same study found a decrease in percentage lean body mass and cross-sectional muscle area during the same time period. Studies have also shown that people with more testosterone have increased muscle strength compared to those with less testosterone. Other negative effects of decreased testosterone levels are anemia and decreased energy.

Obviously, testosterone replacement is not an option for you at this time. However, I admire your commitment in wanting to continue exercising. My recommendation is to focus on safe, low-impact aerobics, allowing your body to adjust to your change in hormones. Swimming and stationary cycling are two such exercises you can engage in.  In your case, another added benefit to exercise is a decrease in mortality from cardiovascular disease. Testosterone deficiency has been linked in many studies to increased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides.

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date: August 6, 2014

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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avatarAMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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