Monday, June 16, 2008

Testosterone Replacement Therapy Shows No Ties to Prostate Cancer

There's been a concern about prostate cancer on the part of older men who would like to receive testosterone replacement therapy. Good news for anyone in that situation . . . A new study, to be presented at the Endocrine Society’s 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, shows that men taking testosterone replacement have no more prostate cancer than similarly aged men not receiving testosterone.

Prostate cancer is a concern regarding testosterone therapy in older men, said lead author Aksam Yassin, MD, PhD, of the Clinic for Urology and Andrology of the Segeberger Clinics in Norderstedt, Germany. “Testosterone treatment stimulates the growth of an existing prostate cancer, but there is no evidence that it causes this type of cancer,” he said.

Therefore, it is a safe bet as long as you know that you do not have any existing cancer. A doctor's visit, including the digital rectal exam and a PSA test, would be required.

The risk of prostate cancer and testosterone deficiency increases with age. Therefore, it is possible that a prostate cancer may occur in an older man during testosterone replacement therapy, but these situations appear to be unrelated to treatment. His research, performed with scientists from Germany and the United Arab Emirates, aimed to determine if prostate cancer occurs more often with testosterone replacement therapy in men over 50. The average age of the 160+ men his group studied was 58 years.

There were no more prostate cancers in the group that received testosterone treatment than in the groups that did not. Moreover, the men receiving testosterone had smaller, less aggressive tumors than did the other men when they did show up with the cancer.

“There is increasing evidence that testosterone replacement therapy in testosterone-deficient men can improve their symptoms, such as decreased bone and muscle mass and low sex drive and depression,” he said. “In view of the many benefits of treatment and the results of our study, we believe it is acceptably safe to treat older men with testosterone if there is a good reason for treatment.”


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