Testosterone Therapy for Men Not Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Breast cancer strikes about one in eight women, so most of us live with at least some anxiety about getting the disease. For the men in our lives, the same might be said of prostate cancer. If he lives long enough, a man faces a near inevitability that he’ll be diagnosed with prostate cancer eventually.
Another health issue facing many aging men is a condition called hypogonadism. It’s probably better known as “low T,” as in; low testosterone. Testosterone is the sex hormone that’s famously responsible for typically male traits. Growth of body hair, enlarged skeletal muscles, sexual maturation, and even aggression and risk taking have all been linked to higher levels of this hormone.
It also plays an important role in keeping men’s body’s lean, and contributes significantly to libido and energy levels. Accordingly, when testosterone levels plummet, whether due to advancing age, or some other reason, men may gain weight, lose interest in sex, or feel generally weaker, and less like themselves. For this reason, many aging men have turned to supplemental testosterone therapy.
It seems to help restore affected men to their youthful vigor. While it’s not a fountain of youth, it certainly has its merits for men truly suffering from clinically low testosterone levels. However, there’s always been one big drawback: fear that it may also fuel the growth of prostate cancer.
Now there’s good news for older men who may be taking—or considering taking—supplemental testosterone. A new study has concluded that testosterone therapy is not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Lead investigator, Ahmad Haider, MD, PhD, is a German urologist. In a press release, he said, “Although considerable evidence exists indicating no relationship between testosterone and increased risk of developing [prostate cancer], decades of physician training with the notion that testosterone is fuel for [prostate cancer] made it difficult to dispel such fallacy and the myth continued to persist…In view of the current evidence, clinicians are compelled to think this over and cannot justify withholding T therapy in hypogonadal men, also in men who have been successfully treated for [prostate cancer].”
Ahmad Haider, Michael Zitzmann, Gheorghe Doros, Hendrik Isbarn, Peter Hammerer, Aksam Yassin. Incidence of Prostate Cancer in Hypogonadal Men Receiving Testosterone Therapy: Observations from 5-Year Median Followup of 3 Registries. The Journal of Urology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2014.06.071