Androgen deprivation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer can lead to loss of muscle and bone mass.
In a new study, researchers find that in elderly patients undergoing the treatment, playing football (soccer in the United States) over a 5-year period was linked with preserved bone mineral density (BMD) in the leg.
The study included 22 patients, half of whom participated in self-organized football.
The researchers found that at 5 years follow-up, the right leg bone health was improved in football players by 2.8%, while right leg bone health decreased in patients who did not play football by 2.0%.
The results in the football players are remarkable because the decreases in bone health usually observed with aging and particularly in men exposed to androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.
The team has previously shown that bone health was improved after 32 weeks of football training.
This finding that bone health is preserved over 5 years in elderly men with prostate cancer is very encouraging.
In addition, it is important that football has motivated this group of elderly cancer patients to continue to be physically active more than 5 years after this study.
However, the team also suggests that the design of this study does not allow for a causal relationship to be established between football training over 5 years and the positive findings on bone health.
More research is needed to test the causal relationship.
The study is published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport.
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