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Int J Epidemiol. 2001 Apr;30(2):341-9.

Prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia and physical activity in Shanghai, China.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.



Studies suggest that increased levels of physical activity might decrease the risk of prostate cancer. We ascertained lifetime measures of activity in a population-based case-control study of prostate cancer in Shanghai, China to investigate physical activity in a population where the incidence of prostate cancer is low but rising.


In all, 238 men with prostate cancer, diagnosed 1993-1995, were identified through a rapid reporting system. A second group of 206 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) was matched to prostate cancer cases, and 471 age-matched and population-based controls were identified from urban Shanghai. Through personal interviews, we ascertained all daily, occupational, and recreational activities at ages 20-29, ages 40-49, and in 1988 to generate hours spent sleeping, sitting, in moderate activity, and in vigorous activity. Time spent per week in different activities was converted to metabolic equivalents (MET-h) and energy expended.


Time spent in, MET-h of, and energy expended in physical activities were not consistently related to either prostate cancer or BPH when compared to controls. Few men reported regular vigorous activity. Occupational activity, based on an energy expenditure index using job titles, was suggestively associated with a decreased risk of BPH, but not associated with prostate cancer. Associations did not vary according to age or stage of prostate cancer at diagnosis.


Our results, based on regular physical activity, occupational activity, hours in activities, MET-h, and energy expended, did not support a protective role of physical activity in prostate cancer or BPH for men in a low-risk population.

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