Lifestyle factors and prostate cancer

The aim of this project is to study the importance of modifiable lifestyle factors for prevention of prostate cancer as well as for survival after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Management of prostate cancer is one of the major challenges in modern oncology. Approximately 9,000 men are diagnosed every year in Sweden and 2,500 die due to the disease annually. However, very little information is available about specific lifestyle recommendations (i.e. food habits, physical activity, body composition etc.) for preventing prostate cancer. Therefore, taking into consideration the individual, national and global burden of the disease, there is a great need for large well-designed trials, interventions and observational studies in order to identify factors that may reduce or increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Our research also aims at studying the importance of lifestyle factors after a diagnosis of prostate cancer and how it may influence survival. Although the 10-year survival rate is almost 70%, very little is known about how lifestyle factors may influence survival in this group of men. Our results may be of great public health relevance since the number of prostate cancer survivors is large, not only in Sweden, but also worldwide. In 2008, more than 70,000 men in Sweden were living with the experience of getting a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Research group

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Katarina Bälter

Affiliated to Research
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Stephanie Bonn

Senior Research Specialist


Our findings show that men with localized prostate cancer can influence their survival through lifestyle changes. The healthcare system should therefore inform men with prostate cancer that it is important to be physically active and avoid gaining to much weight. Inactive men should also receive support from the healthcare system to become more physically active. Read more about our findings in the publications presented below.

Body mass index and weight change in men with prostate cancer: progression and mortality.
Bonn SE, Wiklund F, Sjölander A, Szulkin R, Stattin P, Holmberg E, et al
Cancer Causes Control 2014 Aug;25(8):933-43

The main results from this publication show that men who have had prostate cancer and were obese (BMI = 30 or more) had an almost 50% increased overall mortality rate compared with normal-weight men. A larger weight gain after diagnosis was associated with almost a doubled mortality rate compared with men keeping a stable weight.

Physical activity and survival among men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Bonn SE, Sjölander A, Lagerros YT, Wiklund F, Stattin P, Holmberg E, et al
Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Jan;24(1):57-64

The main results from this publication show that men who have had prostate cancer and are physically active after diagnosis have about 30% lower overall and prostate specific mortality rates compared with inactive men. For more information about this study, go to the Karolinska Institutet research news.

Perceived reasons, incentives, and barriers to physical activity in Swedish elderly men.
Sjörs C, Bonn SE, Trolle Lagerros Y, Sjölander A, Bälter K
Interact J Med Res 2014 Nov;3(4):e15

In this study we investigated what motivates physically active men to be active and what obstacles inactive men state. Active men thought it was fun to exercise and they were well motivated to maintain good health. Inactive men lacked motivation and interest but would find it motivating to start exercising if they had a training partner.

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