Cancer has been a long-running problem for our species, particularly since the rise of technology after the industrial revolution. Particularly in countries with high levels of air pollution, cancers that are tied to the respiratory system are among the world’s most frequent and long-running killers. But that doesn’t mean that other types of cancer are just laying back.
In fact, prostate cancer is the second biggest cause of death for men in the UK, and it’s also quickly making its way up in the United States, even more so since heart disease has begun to dwindle. So it’s understandable that coming up with a cure or a more effective treatment is absolutely vital.
ADTs, or testosterone-reducing therapies, are some of the most used forms of medicine against prostate cancer. However, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, this prostate cancer hormone therapy is linked to Alzheimer’s and depression. In fact, such treatments double the risk of developing the cognitive deteriorative condition.
To reach these conclusions, the team of researchers looked at the data of 78,552 prostate cancer patients aged 65 and higher. Those that took the hormonal medication had a 23 percent higher chance of developing depression and a 29 percent higher chance of inpatient psychiatric treatment.
This chance increased along with the duration of the therapy, being of 12 percent over six months, of 26 percent over seven to eleven months, and 37 percent for twelve months or more.
Hormone therapy and the brain
It had already been proven by previous researches that low levels of testosterone can weaken a brain to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, particularly an aging one. Plus, reducing androgen activity in the brain has long been linked with adverse side effects of the most unpleasant type.
Patients being administered hormone therapy often find themselves suffering from weight gain, decreased sexual function, and weight gain – all symptoms associated with depression. This led the team to deduce that in fact those treated with the therapy are a highly increased risk of depression. And it is very concerning, seeing as somewhere around 50,000 are treated with the therapy every year in the UK alone.
According to Dr. Paul Nguyen from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, it’s very important for patients to know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. But it’s even more important for doctors to know the side effects of the medicine they’re giving to their patients.
Even though prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in the UK and most are treated with hormone therapy, people should be discussing options with their primary care physicians. This is particularly important with the side effects the therapy was proven to have, so the team is looking for ways to raise awareness.
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