Aging takes its toll on a man’s body. Natural testosterone production goes down and the risk for prostate cancer rises. While testosterone replacement therapy can stave off some of the effects of aging, many fear this intervention could actually increase the likelihood of high-grade prostate cancer development. A recently released study, however, is offering a ray of hope to men who require long-term testosterone replacement therapy to keep them feeling better. The study found that when testosterone replacement therapy is used for up to 5 years, it is not associated with a greater risk for higher grade prostate cancer.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Urology, focused on more than 50,000 men with prostate cancer. In the study group, 574 men had used testosterone in the five years prior to diagnosis. The rate of high-grade prostate cancer diagnosis was 20.1 percent in the testosterone group and 27 percent in the men who did not undergo testosterone therapy. The results, researchers say, indicate that testosterone therapy may not pose the risk over the long-term that was once believed. Further study will be needed to help better guide treatments in the future.
An estimated 220,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Commonly associated with aging, this disease is often highly treatable when it is detected early. Men who are over the age of 50 are urged to speak with their healthcare providers about screening for prostate cancer.
The use of hormone replacement therapy as men age is also an issue to discuss carefully with a healthcare provider. In some cases, this form of therapy can be very beneficial for helping men combat effects of aging, such as a loss of energy and libido. The best recommendation for a particular patient, however, will hinge on all medical facts in each unique case.