Ben Stiller Wants Men to Test for Prostate Cancer

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Actor Ben Stiller was as surprised as anyone when he heard these words: “So yeah, it’s cancer.”

After all, he was only 48 and had no real reason to suspect that he had cancer, especially prostate cancer, which many people think of as an older man’s disease.

“I have no history of prostate cancer in my family and I’m not in the high-risk group,” he wrote in a public posting detailing his experience. “I had no symptoms.”

So how did the star of movies including There’s Something About MaryMeet the Parents, and Zoolander end up getting diagnosed in the first place? And what does his case have to say about the way we diagnose and treat prostate cancer in the United States?

Stiller’s story began two years before the day in June 2014 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This is when his doctor, a “thoughtful internist”, gave him a simple and inexpensive PSA screening test. This was the first of many PSA tests over the next few years.

A one-time modest elevation of PSA blood levels can be explained by several factors that are often correctable. So the best course of action is to have follow-up PSA tests to monitor what direction the PSA is moving in.

As follow-up PSA tests were performed, Ben Stiller’s doctor noted a gradual rise in Stiller’s PSA over his earlier baseline. These rising levels triggered a referral to a urologist, who did further testing, including a digital rectal exam, an MRI, and finally a biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis.

Three months after his diagnosis, Stiller had undergone treatment—in his case a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, or removal of his prostate gland during a minimally invasive surgery—and was cancer free. That could have been the end of it, but after doing his research into prostate cancer screening and diagnosis, Stiller realized he couldn’t be silent about his experience. He’s been spreading the same message ever since: “Taking the PSA test saved my life.”

This might not seem like a controversial statement—after all, it might seem hard to argue against a simple blood test that can identify prostate cancer early enough to treat it before it spreads and without major side effects. But in fact, due to recent chaos in the official recommendations for PSA blood testing, tens of thousands of American men are skipping the very test that possibly saved Stiller’s life on the advice of their doctors and with potentially devastating consequences.

History of Screening Recommendations

The PSA test is used to measure prostate-specific antigen, a protein that is produced by the prostate gland.

PSA levels rise in aging men and can be the first signal of underlying prostate cancer. So the PSA blood test is used to identify men who may have prostate malignancy and need further evaluation.

This simple blood test was approved by the FDA in 1994, allowing men to begin monitoring their PSA levels and identify possible tumors long before they become dangerous.1

Since PSA testing was introduced, the risk of dying from prostate cancer among men who were regularly screened declined by as much as 42%.2,3

Despite this drop, widespread PSA screening remained controversial in the medical community.

Prostate cancer is typically a slow-growing cancer, and the current biopsy and treatment methods, including the kind of less-invasive surgical removal that Stiller underwent, carry risks such as pain, incontinence and impotence. Some doctors worried that the PSA test, which can detect very slight increases in PSA levels, might be causing men with low-risk cancers to undergo biopsies and possibly unnecessary treatment.

Based on these concerns, in 2012, the US Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) issued a stunning update to prostate screening recommendations. Drawing its conclusions from the results of a $400 million federal study, the USPSTF advised against PSA screening for healthy men, saying that PSA screening has “no net benefit.”4-6 The American Cancer Society soon revised its recommendations, steering healthy, average-risk men away from PSA screening until age 50, with revised recommendations for men with a family history of prostate cancer.7

These guidelines caused immediate uproar in the medical community, including rebuttals from Life Extension® urging men over age 40 to continue having annual PSA blood tests. By 2016, the USPSTF announced it was reconsidering its prior recommendations against PSA screening.

In 2017, a new draft recommendation was released for public input. This time, the USPSTF slightly backtracked, saying that the risks and benefits of PSA screening are “closely balanced” in men between the ages of 55 and 69 and they should seek their doctor’s advice on PSA screening. Men aged 54 and under and those over the age of 70 would still be counseled to avoid PSA screening. These new, slightly softer guidelines were still not finalized as of May 2017, and the agency was soliciting public input.8

In Stiller’s case, following even the updated guidelines might have meant disaster—he was still too young to be screened according to the USPSTF (United States Preventive Service Task Force).

“If he [Ben Stiller’s doctor] had waited, as the American Cancer Society recommends, until I was 50, I would not have known I had a growing tumor until two years after I got treated,” he wrote. “If he [Ben Stiller’s doctor] had followed the US Preventive Service Task Force guidelines, I would never have gotten tested at all, and not have known I had cancer until it was way too late to treat successfully.”

The USPSTF’s original recommendations against screening were partly based on the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. This huge trial assigned 76,685 men aged 55 – 74 years to one of two study arms. The first group (38,340 men) underwent annual PSA testing for 6 years and an annual digital rectal exam for 4 years. The control group (38,345 men) underwent normal care, with occasional “opportunistic screening” but no regular PSA monitoring. At the end of the 13-year follow-up period, researchers announced there was “no evidence of a mortality benefit” for annual PSA screening.9 The USPSTF recommendation against PSA screening soon followed.

Life Extension, which has long supported PSA screening, issued a detailed rebuttal challenging the findings of this study. In fact, the study was deeply flawed thanks to widespread “contamination” of the control arm.

While Life Extension was early in identifying the obvious flaws with this study, it wasn’t long until astute research groups began to catch up. In early 2016, a group of urologists from the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine confirming what Life Extension suspected.10

The shocking truth was that more than 80% of the men in the control group—which was supposed to only receive “occasional” PSA screening—reported at least one PSA test during the trial. In fact, by some measures, the men in the control group received more PSA screening than men in the PSA screeningarm!10

Their conclusion? “We’re going to have to reconsider this issue.”11

Further support for this position was published in another large study, this one called the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer. This study randomized 182,000 men aged 50 to 74 to a “usual care” control group or a group with PSA screening every two to seven years. Spread across seven research centers in Europe, the group tracked prostate cancer mortality in both study arms. At the median follow-up of nine years, researchers reported that PSA screening resulted in a 20% reduction in prostate cancer mortality!12

A study from the Göteborg center, one of the seven participating centers in this study, found that men aged 50 to 64 years of age who had a PSA screening every other year had a 44% reduced mortality risk from prostate cancer. The center used a PSA cutoff of 2.5 ng/mL to 3.0 ng/mL. Men with these cutoff PSA levels and higher were referred for additional testing, including a digital rectal exam, transrectal ultrasound, and prostate biopsy.13

Although it’s too late to help the tens of thousands of men who likely skipped PSA screening, we are grateful the USPSTF is slowly grappling with the well-documented issues in its original guidelines by issuing the new draft recommendations.14

The issue was further complicated by results from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicinein 2016. This trial followed 1,643 men for a decade, each with prostate cancer that was first detected by PSA screening, to see which of the most popular treatment techniques was most effective, including “active waiting” and monitoring the disease, surgery to remove the prostate gland, or external radiation beam therapy to treat the cancer. While the prostate-cancer-specific survival rate was high (>98%) in all three groups, researchers found that men in the “active waiting” group were more likely to progress to metastatic disease, and about half of them needed surgery or radiation therapy within the 10-year study period.15

These results suggest that men benefit from early detection and early treatment of prostate cancer.

Please note that Life Extension does not recommend “watchful or active waiting” in the presence of high PSA and/or low-grade prostate cancer. We instead advise men to follow an aggressive “active surveillance” program that involves an anticancer diet along with specific drugs and nutrients that may enable early-stage disease to be contained.

Rise in Metastatic Cancer Rates

While various agencies continue to issue contradictory and confusing advice, men across the country have paid the price. In late 2016, a research group from Northwestern Medicine released a stunning and tragic finding: diagnoses of metastatic prostate cancer, the worst type, climbed an unbelievable 72% between 2004 and 2013.16

To reach these findings, the group studied a database of more than three-quarters of a million men in the National Cancer Data Base. What they found should alarm any man who skips his PSA screening.

“The fact that men in 2013 who presented with metastatic disease had much higher PSAs than similar men in 2004 hints that more aggressive disease is on the rise,”17 said study author Dr. Edward Schaeffer, chair of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine.

“One hypothesis is the disease has become more aggressive, regardless of the change in screening,” said Dr. Schaeffer. “The other idea is since screening guidelines have become more lax, when men do get diagnosed, it’s at a more advanced stage of disease. Probably both are true. We don’t know for sure but this is the focus of our current work.”17

This makes treatment more difficult, and it’s exactly the situation Ben Stiller would have faced if his forward-thinking doctor hadn’t established a PSA baseline early on and tracked it, allowing him to discover Stiller’s troubling increase in PSA levels over time and recommend the movie star for further evaluation and surgery.

It’s important to note that the increase in metastatic, aggressive prostate cancer almost perfectly aligns with the trend away from PSA screening that culminated with the USPSTF 2012 recommendation against any PSA screening.

Prostate Cancer Survivors Due to Early Detection

Name Year Successfully Treated
Robert De Niro 2003 at age 60
John Kerry 2003 at age 60
Rudy Giuliani 2000 at age 56
Robert Goulet 1993 at age 60
Colin Powell 2003 at age 66
Michael Milken 1993 at age 46

Stiller’s Happy Ending

The main concern with PSA screening is the potential for overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. These are real concerns—PSA screening frequently returns “false positives,” which are stressful for the patients involved and result in unnecessary biopsies and additional tests.18

We recommends regular, inexpensive PSA screening to establish a baseline and follow PSA numbers over time. If your PSA level rises above 1.0 ng/mL, there are natural and safe measures you can take to reduce it. Further evaluation may be necessary if your PSA continues to rise over time.

In fact, this is exactly the course Stiller followed, and today he’s alive and grateful for it.

“The bottom line for me: I was lucky enough to have a doctor who gave me what they call a ‘baseline’ PSA test when I was about 46,” he wrote in Medium, a popular blogging platform. “My doctor watched my PSA tests rise for over a year and a half, testing me every six months…I think men over the age of 40 should have the opportunity to discuss the test with their doctor and learn about it, so they can have the chance to be screened.”19

More recently, two years after his diagnosis and treatment, Stiller went public with his experience with an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, alongside Dr. Schaeffer. While reporting that he wasn’t experiencing any of the major complications of prostate surgery, Stiller gave a simple reason for going public. He wanted to educate as many men as possible about their options when it came to PSA screening.

“It’s a whole new world,” Stiller said. “You need to educate yourself.”

We at Life Extension commend Bernard M. Kruger, M.D. for having the foresight to test Ben Stiller’s PSA blood levels despite conventional “authorities” advising against PSA screening.

Written By Jon Vanzile

Article Source: http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2017/9/Ben-Stiller-Advocates-Prostate-Cancer-Screening/Page-01

 

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Jerking Off Cuts Prostate Cancer Risk By 33 Percent: Male Orgasm Flushes Out Harmful Toxins, Theory Says

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Many men know a healthy diet and lifestyle provides some protection against prostate cancer. Eating less red meat, animal fats, and dairy fats and adding more fruits and vegetables promote good health, but science suggests men can also give their prostate a helping hand, literally. A study published in European Urology found having sex or jerking off can lower the risk of prostate cancer via the male orgasm.

There’s a link between how much men masturbate and their likelihood of developing prostate cancer. A total of 21 orgasms a month, either by having lots of sex or jerking off, can reduce the risk of disease by 33 percent.

“These findings provide additional evidence of a beneficial role of more frequent ejaculation throughout adult life in the etiology of PCa [prostate cancer], particularly for low-risk disease,” wrote the researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the study.

However, it remains unclear why having this many orgams per month is good for the prostate.

One theory is that ejaculation flushes out harmful toxins and bacteria in the prostate gland that could cause inflammation. The prostate works by providing a fluid into semen during ejaculation that activates sperm, and prevents them from sticking together. High concentrations of potassium, zinc, fructose, and citric acid are drawn from the bloodstream.

Previous research has shown carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, like 3-methylcholanthrene, are also found in the prostate. This means carcinogens can build up over time, especially if men ejaculate less, which is known as the prostatic stagnation hypothesis. In theory, the more a man “flushes out” the ducts, the fewer carcinogens that are likely to linger around and damage the cells that line them.

Another theory proposed is ejaculation can lead the prostate glands to mature fully, which makes them less susceptible to carcinogens.

Approximately 32,000 men were surveyed on their number of orgasms as researchers tracked  those who developed prostate cancer over the course of decades. The study was a 10-year follow-up on questions answered on ejaculation frequency in 1992 and followed through to 2010. Average monthly ejaculation frequency was assessed during three periods: age 20–29; age 40–49; and the year before the questionnaire was distributed.

The researchers concluded daily masturbation throughout adulthood had a protective effect against prostate cancer. These findings echo results from a 2008 Harvard study that found there was no increased risk of prostate cancer related to age of ejaculation, but benefits increased as men aged. Yet, other studies have found men experience a reduced risk of prostate cancer if they frequently masturbated during young adulthood.

Jerking off as an effective preventative measure for prostate cancer remains murky. These studies suggest there is a connection between the two, but its effects seem to fluctuate depending on a man’s age. This warrants further research to determine what age group can reap the most benefits from daily masturbation for prostate health.

Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and risk increases with age. About six in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65, according to the American Cancer Society. Other risk factors include race, genetics, weight, physical activity, diet, height, and chemical exposure.

The exact causes of prostate cancer remain unknown, but sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle could offer protection. Perhaps men who give themselves a helping hand in the bedroom can also improve their prostate health. After all, relaxing and reducing stress can help increase longevity, and decrease the onset of disease.

Source: Rider JR, Wilson KM, Sinnott JA et al. Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up. European Urology. 2016.

Written By Lizette Borreli 

Article Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/jerking-cuts-prostate-cancer-risk-33-percent-male-orgasm-flushes-out-harmful-419783

 

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Shift Work Throws Urologic Health Off Schedule

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Nonstandard shifts and a circadian rhythm disturbance known as shift work sleep disorder contribute to a significant increase in urinary tract symptoms and reproductive problems, according to three studies conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“A 45-year-old shift worker with shift work sleep disorder might look like a 75-year-old man in terms of his lower urinary tract symptoms,” John Sigalos, a medical student and investigator on one of the studies, said here at the American Urological Association 2017 Annual Meeting.

The other studies presented demonstrate that male shift workers with shift work sleep disorder have lower testosterone levels and more hypogonadal symptoms than daytime workers, and that infertile shift workers, especially those who work rotating shifts, have significantly worse semen parameters than infertile men who work the day shift.

In the United States, approximately 15% of the labor force works late-night or rotating shifts.

Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Study

To determine the effect of poor sleep quality and shift work on lower urinary tract symptoms, Sigalos and his colleagues retrospectively reviewed the medical records of men treated at the Baylor andrology clinic from 2014 to 2016.

All the men had completed the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) to evaluate lower urinary tract symptoms, completed questionnaires about work schedules and sleep disorders, and had blood samples taken.

Of the 2487 participants, 766 (30.8%) reported working nonstandard shifts in the previous month and, of these, 36.8% were considered to be at high risk for sleep disorders.

Mean IPSS score was higher in shift workers with sleep disorders than in shift workers without, and daytime workers (7.77 vs 5.37 vs 6.84; P < .0001 between all groups).

IPSS scores were 3.1 points lower in shift workers with sleep disorders than in shift workers without, after age, comorbidities, and testosterone levels were controlled for (= .0001).

These findings suggest that poor sleep quality — rather than shift work itself — contributes to the increase in lower urinary tract symptoms. Patients at risk for shift work sleep disorder should be screened for lower urinary tract symptoms and counseled about the risk, Sigalos told Medscape Medical News.

Hypogonadism Study

The potential for hypogonadal symptoms and sexual dysfunction was examined by another group of Baylor investigators who used the same cohort of men.

On multivariable analyses that controlled for age, Charlson comorbidity score, and testosterone levels, mean scores on the quantitative Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (qADAM) questionnaire were 0.8 points lower in nonstandard shift workers than in daytime workers (P < .01). And mean qADAM score was 3.9 points lower in shift workers at high risk for sleep disorders than in shift workers at low risk (P < .01).

In addition, there was an independent association between high risk for shift work sleep disorder and lower testosterone levels after age, comorbidities, and history of testosterone supplementation were controlled for (P < .01).

Semen Parameters Study

The effects of shift work and sleep quality on semen parameters and reproductive hormones in men were assessed in a prospective study by Taylor Kohn, MD, and his colleagues.

The study participants — 75 infertile shift workers, 96 infertile nonshift workers, and a control group of 26 fertile men — completed questionnaires about shift work and sleep quality, and underwent semen analysis and hormone testing.

Sperm density was significantly lower in infertile shift workers than in infertile nonshift workers (P = .012), as were total motile counts (P = .019) and testosterone levels (= .026).

However, the differences in sperm motility, forward progression measures, luteinizing hormone levels, and follicle-stimulating hormone levels were not significant.

All semen parameters were significantly lower in the infertile shift workers than in the fertile control group, and luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels were significantly higher. Testosterone levels were about the same in the two groups.

On linear regression that controlled for age, Charlson comorbidity index, tobacco use, and average income, there was a significant negative association between total motile count and shift work (P = .039), and a significant positive association between total motile count and previous fertility (P = .041).

In addition, total motile counts were significantly lower in men who worked rotating shifts than in those who worked fixed shifts (P < .05).

The type of job shift workers performed also made a difference. Men who performed physical labor in environments where chemical use was common (such as oil fields and refineries) had significantly lower total motile counts than physical laborers without chemical exposure, medical workers, white-collar workers, and first responders (P < .05).

Sleep satisfaction also seemed to play a role. “When assessing reported overall sleep amounts in the previous month, follicle-stimulating hormone and testosterone levels trended downward as men became more unsatisfied with the amount of sleep they were getting,” Dr Kohn reported.

Thinking Beyond the Prostate

It is important for urologists to think beyond the prostate when treating men with lower urinary tract symptoms or sexual dysfunction, said Howard Adler, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York.

When men present with symptoms like those reported in these studies, clinicians need to consider not only prostate-related symptoms, but also age-related changes in bladder function, renal function, and other medical conditions, such as diabetes, he told Medscape Medical News.

At Stony Brook, Dr Adler explained, he and his colleagues have begun “asking patients about sleep habits and snoring, and are sending them for sleep studies to see if they have apnea or something else, especially patients with a lot of night-time urination.”

The studies were supported by the Baylor College of Medicine. The authors and Dr Adler have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

American Urological Association (AUA) 2017 Annual Meeting: Abstracts MP13-12 and PD13-08 presented May 12, 2017; Abstract MP91-06 presented May 16, 2017.

Written By: Neil Osterweil

Article Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/880096#vp_1

 

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Poor Oral Health May Signal Prostate Issues

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Treating gum disease reduces symptoms of prostate inflammation (prostatitis).

Prostatitis is a chronic inflammation of the prostate gland that can compromise a man’s quality of life.  Naif Alwithanani, from Case Western Reserve University (Ohio, USA), and colleagues studied 27 men, ages 21 years and older, each of whom were diagnosed with prostatitis within the past year (via biopsy and prostate specific antigen [PSA] test). The men were assessed for symptoms of prostate disease by answering questions on the International-Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) test.  Of the 27 participants, 21 had no or mild inflammation, but 15 had biopsy-confirmed malignancies, and 2 had both inflammation and a malignancy.   Each of the subjects had at least 18 teeth, and all of them showed moderate to severe gum disease. They received treatment and were tested again for periodontal disease four to eight weeks later and showed significant improvement. During the periodontal care, the men received no treatment for their prostate conditions. But even without prostate treatment, 21 of the 27 men showed decreased levels of PSA. Those with the highest levels of inflammation benefited the most from the periodontal treatment. Six participants showed no changes.  Symptom scores on the IPSS test also showed improvement.   The study authors write that: “Periodontal treatment improved prostate symptom score and lowered PSA value in men afflicted with chronic periodontitis.”

 

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/poor-oral-health-may-signal-prostate-issues/

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Green Tea May Reduce Men’s Cancer Risk

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Supplements of green tea extract may reduce prostate cancer risk, among men with lesions or neoplasia.

Green tea (Camelia sinensis) is an abundant source of antioxidants – notably, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Previous studies have suggested that supplements of green tea extract may confer a variety of cardiovascular and cancer protective effects. Nagi B. Kumar, from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute (Florida, United States), and colleagues enrolled 97 men who had premalignant prostate lesions or high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia.  Tracking for changes in  high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) and/or atypical small acinar proliferation (ASAP), study participants were randomly assigned to receive either a supplement containing green tea extract (400 mg EGCG), or placebo, for one year. The researchers observed that the man who receive the green tea supplement experienced reduced combined rates of HGPIN/ASAP, as well as decreased levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). The study authors report that: ” Daily intake of a standardized, decaffeinated catechin mixture containing 400 mg EGCG per day for 1 year accumulated in plasma and was well tolerated but did not reduce the likelihood of PCa in men with baseline [high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia] or [atypical small acinar proliferation].”

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/green-tea-may-reduce-mens-cancer-risk/

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Testosterone Therapy in Patients with Treated and Untreated Prostate Cancer: Impact on Oncologic Outcomes

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Purpose

Testosterone deficiency and prostate cancer have an increasing prevalence with age. However, because of the relationship between prostate cancer and androgen receptor activation, testosterone therapy among patients with known prostate cancer has been approached with caution.

Materials and Methods

We identified a cohort of 82 hypogonadal men with prostate cancer who were treated with testosterone therapy. They included 50 men treated with radiation therapy, 22 treated with radical prostatectomy, 8 on active surveillance, 1 treated with cryotherapy and 1 who underwent high intensity focused ultrasound. We monitored prostate specific antigen, testosterone, hemoglobin, biochemical recurrence and prostate specific antigen velocity.

Results

Median patient age was 75.5 years and median followup was 41 months. We found an increase in testosterone (p <0.001) and prostate specific antigen (p = 0.001) in the entire cohort. Prostate specific antigen increased in patients on active surveillance. However, no patients were upgraded to higher Gleason score on subsequent biopsies and none have yet gone on to definitive treatment. We did not note any biochemical recurrence among patients treated with radical prostatectomy but 3 (6%) treated with radiation therapy experienced biochemical recurrence. It is unclear whether these cases were related to testosterone therapy or reflected the natural biology of the disease. We calculated mean prostate specific antigen velocity as 0.001, 0.12 and 1.1 μg/l per year in the radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy and active surveillance groups, respectively.

Conclusions

In the absence of randomized, placebo controlled trials our study supports the hypothesis that testosterone therapy may be oncologically safe in hypogonadal men after definitive treatment or in those on active surveillance for prostate cancer.

Article Source: http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(16)30307-X/abstract

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TESTOSTERONE AND PROSTATE CANCER: THE MYTHS REVEALED

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NDs strive to find the root cause of illness in order to understand the truth when looking at any given situation. Traditional medicine has postulated that the presence of excess testosterone in a male’s body might increase the likelihood of prostate cancer. Some years back the urological community tried to find a correlation between the levels of testosterone or DHT (dihydro-testosterone) and prostate cancer. They found that there was no correlation.

Fear of Testosterone

Nonetheless, the medical community has avoided the therapeutic use of testosterone for fear of cancer. In doing so, they have discouraged and prevented many men from attaining the benefits available from androgen replacement therapy.

We all are aware of the myriad conditions that arise from androgen deficiency. These range from hyperlipidemia, hyperinsulinism, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and cardiovascular disease to an increase in all cause mortality.

A major reason for this attitude toward testosterone and androgen replacement therapy is because of the testosterone that was used in the 1940s and 1950s. A patent medicine company sold a synthetic hormone called methyltestosterone, pawning it off as the real thing. After a few years of taking this chemical form, which does not exist in the human body, many men developed liver cancer and heart disease. The experts proclaimed that “testosterone therapy” was dangerous, so testosterone research died and did not wake up until the late 1980s with the use of safer, bioidentical testosterone (Dach, online posting).

Another reason that testosterone has a bad reputation is from its abuse in sports. After all, it is an anabolic hormone. Following the example of college and professional athletes trying to increase their abilities, many high school athletes began using anabolic steroids. This is an example of tragic, self-induced hormone overdose. In response to this, the U.S. Congress made testosterone a controlled substance like cocaine and morphine (Dach, online posting).

Another issue is that institutional medicine is opposed to the idea of testosterone treatment. In November 2002 the Institute of Medicine stated that existing scientific evidence does not justify claims that testosterone treatments can relieve or prevent certain age-related problems in men (Dach, online posting). As seen in Table 1, which summarizes a review of literature, no studies correlate levels of testosterone, DHEA or DHT to prostate cancer.

Last but not least is the notion that testosterone is not safe for the prostate. This notion is incorrect, as illustrated in the January 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, which reviewed numerous medical studies and found absolutely no evidence that testosterone therapy causes prostate cancer. In fact, the report notes that prostate cancer becomes more prevalent exactly at the time of the man’s life that testosterone levels decline.

In another study, researchers examined the effects on the prostate of testosterone replacement therapy in 40 men aged 44 to 78 and who had low testosterone levels.

The men received 150mg of either testosterone or a placebo via injection every two weeks for six months.

Biopsies performed on prostate tissue taken from the men before and after the study showed testosterone levels within the prostate increased only slightly among the men who received testosterone therapy, although their blood levels of the hormone increased to normal levels.

No treatment-related change in the number of cancer cases or cancer severity was found.

“The prostate risks to men undergoing TRT may not be as great as once believed, especially if the results of the pretreatment biopsy are negative,” wrote researcher Leonard Marks, MD of the UCLA School of Medicine, and colleagues in The Journal of The American Medical Association (2006).

Most of this debate stems from the study conducted in 1941 by Huggins and Hodges, which established the hormonal responsiveness of prostate cancer by reporting that marked reductions in testosterone by castration or estrogen treatment caused metastatic prostate cancer to regress, and also that administration of exogenous testosterone caused prostate cancer to grow. Many of us learned from our professors to describe the relationship of testosterone to prostate cancer as “fuel for a fire” and “food for a hungry tumor.” To this day, androgen ablation remains a mainstay of treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.19.18 PM

On this note, a recent study illustrated that androgen deprivation therapy may not work. Published in theJournal of the American Medical Association (2008), the authors concluded that in men ages 66 and older, primary androgen deprivation therapy is not associated with improved survival among the majority of elderly men with localized prostate cancer when compared with conservative management (ie, deferral of treatment until necessitated by disease signs or symptoms in order to preserve quality of life).

This illustrates our need to change our thinking when it comes to androgens and prostate cancer.

Yet the true nature of this myth is revealed best by its historical origin – a blood test result in a single patient that was equivocal at best. Other investigators failed to note worrisome prostate cancer progression with testosterone administration and even reported beneficial subjective responses. Reviewing the relatively benign clinical course of their previously untreated patients, Fowler and Whitmore (1981) postulated that near-maximal stimulation of prostate cancer occurs at testosterone concentrations found in normal men. This saturation model is consistent with current data regarding testosterone and prostate cancer.

Discussion

The assertion that higher testosterone causes enhanced prostate cancer growth has persisted as a medical myth since 1941 despite all evidence to the contrary. Longitudinal studies have repeatedly and consistently rejected this hypothesis. And if testosterone is “food for a hungry tumor,” then why is the cancer rate only 1% for men receiving testosterone replacement therapy when one of seven hypogonadal men has biopsy-detectable prostate cancer?

In summary, there is not today – nor has there ever been, in my opinion – a scientific basis for the contention that a higher testosterone concentration causes prostate cancer growth, acutely or long-term. It is here where we find the danger of beliefs rather than science impairing our ability to behave logically and consistently. We must make our own informed decisions based on science and evidence presented to us rather than fear.

Source: http://ndnr.com/naturopathic-news/testosterone-and-prostate-cancer-the-myths-revealed/

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