I know of men who avoid testosterone replacement therapy because of the mistaken belief that it increases the risk of prostate cancer.
Not only is that not true, but some of the latest research indicates that testosterone may actually kill cancer cells, and could be a potential treatment for prostate cancer!
A recent study conducted in the UK, reports that doctors there may have eliminated a patient’s prostate cancer, by “shocking his tumors to death with testosterone.”
The Latest Research on Prostate Cancer and Testosterone
The patient was enrolled in study created to measure the impact of “massive amounts” of testosterone on prostate cancer tumors. This idea may seem a little farfetched, since we know that prostate cancer cells usually thrive on testosterone. That is why removal of the testes and other testosterone depravation therapies, have been part of the treatment for prostate cancer victims for decades.
However, Professor Sam Denmeade, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, lead researcher on this study, said the concept was to give the cancer cells to much to swallow, in effect, shutting them down by overloading the system. “Our goal is to shock the cancer cells by exposing them rapidly to very high levels of testosterone followed by very low levels of testosterone in the blood.” He says their results have been “unexpected and exciting.”
Speaking to the London Telegraph, he went on to say, “I think we may have cured one man whose PSA dropped to zero after three months and has remained so now for 22 cycles. His disease has all disappeared.”
Prof. Denmeade said it is still not clear how the treatment worked, but he knows that the “overdose” of testosterone destroyed the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce. He admits further study and larger scale trials are needed, but this is indeed an intriguing line of research!
The Truth About Testosterone and Cancer
Despite research like this, and other recent studies that indicate that men who are on testosterone therapy, are at no greater risk to develop cancer than those who are not, the myth of a link between T-therapy and cancer persists. It is a largely unfounded fear that keeps many men who could benefit from testosterone therapy, from seeking help.
This idea began and has been perpetrated largely based on one very old study done by a Dr. Charles Huggins in the 1940s.
Huggins’ research found that in a small group of men who had already been suffering with late-stage prostate cancer, castration –or the total removal of their ability to produce testosterone – slowed the progression of the disease. He also found that giving supplemental testosterone to men with prostate cancer, increase the spread of the disease. But, remember both of these findings were in men who already had prostate cancer.
For men already with cancer, decreasing the testosterone in their bodies, may help control the spread of the disease, because it is a biological fact that most prostate tumors do “feed” on testosterone.
However, and this is very important, there has never, ever been an research to indicate that testosterone therapy in otherwise healthy and cancer-free males could “cause” prostate cancer.
In fact, in 2015, researchers published the results of a five year study observing many thousands of men in which they concluded, “Our findings suggest that the incidence of prostate cancer in patients on T-therapy was not greater than in the general population. To date, there is no convincing evidence that T-therapy is a risk factor for Prostate Cancer. Thus, fears that Testosterone Replacement Therapy causes Prostate Cancer may not be justified. In fact, the incidence of prostate cancer in the testosterone treated men was far less than that detected in general screening trials.”
As the name implies, Testosterone Replacement Therapy, or T-therapy, is designed to replace what time and aging takes away.
Testosterone therapy can be given to you in a number of ways, including: hormone replacement pellets, injections, skin-patches, creams, lozenges, or any combination thereof. You and your doctor will decide together which delivery method is best for your needs and lifestyle.
If you are a man between the ages of 35 and 55, and you are feeling tired, have low energy, are putting on weight, feel depressed and unmotivated, or experiencing sexual health issues, you may have low testosterone, otherwise known as “Low-t.” But, the only way to know for sure is to come in and have your levels checked.
Do not let an unfounded fear of the side-effects of testosterone therapy, and an erroneous belief that it could cause cancer, keep you from making the phone call that could change your life!