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Sandy Srinivas, MD


ASCOBT 2023: Can Exercise and Psychotherapy Improve Sexual Health in Patients With Prostate Cancer?

By: Victoria Kuhr, BA
Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2023

Supervised resistance and aerobic exercise were found to improve erectile function and intercourse satisfaction in patients with prostate cancer. In contrast, Daniel Abido Galvao, PhD, of Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, and colleagues observed that patients did not experience additional improvements to their sexual health with self-managed psychotherapy. These findings were presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Breakthrough meeting (Abstract 71) in Yokohama, Japan.

“Our study shows that these patients can immediately benefit from supervised exercise interventions to improve their sexual health and that exercise should be considered as an integral part of treatment for prostate cancer,” said Dr. Galvao in an ASCO press release.

This parallel-group, multicentered trial was conducted between 2014 and 2018 at university-affiliated exercise clinics. The study included men with prostate cancer who had previously or were currently undergoing treatment of sexual dysfunction during the study. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: (1) supervised, group-based resistance and aerobic exercise for 6 months; (2) the same exercise program as in group 1 plus psychosexual therapy; or (3) usual care for sexual dysfunction. The primary endpoint was assessment of sexual health. The secondary endpoints were body composition, physical function, and muscle strength.

A total of 112 participants were included in the study. Of them, 39 were assigned to group 1; 36, to group 2; and 37, group 3. Researchers found that erectile function increased by 5.1 points with exercise and 1.0 points with usual care (group 3). Intercourse satisfaction increased by 2.2 points with exercise and 0.2 points with usual care. Conversely, self-managed psychosexual therapy did not seem to provide patients with additional improvements. In addition, when compared with usual care, exercise prevented an increase in fat mass (P = .028) and improved physical function outcomes as well as upper- and lower-body muscle strength.

Disclosure: Dr. Galvao reported no conflicts of interest. For full disclosures of the other study authors, visit

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