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Testosterone and prostate cancer

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Does Testosterone Cause Prostate Cancer?

Back in the 1940's, doctors didn't know much about prostate cancer (or any cancer, for that matter). However, they noted that men with metastatic prostate cancer lived a bit longer when they were castrated.

I should rephrase that. They noted that ONE man with metastatic prostate cancer lived longer when he was castrated (1). That's right, the effects of castration on one poor bastard's prostate cancer led several generations of doctors to assume that it was testosterone itself that promoted the disease. Mind boggling, isn't it?

The Truth

Men with low testosterone don't have anything to fear from TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). It won't increase their risk of developing prostate cancer. Consider the analysis of more than a quarter of a million records of men in Sweden that was released at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Diego, California in 2016.

The researchers found that men who'd been prescribed testosterone for longer than a year not only had no overall increased risk of prostate cancer, but their risk of aggressive disease had been reduced by 50 percent.

And this is only the most recent of many studies that squelch the myth that TRT causes prostate cancer. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at 1400 men who had received testosterone replacement therapy for up to 20 years and they found only 14 cases of prostate cancer over the course of the study (2).

This prompted the co-author of the study, Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, medical director at the Center for Men's Health in London, to state:

"This myth about testosterone replacement therapy being linked to prostate cancer has been rooted deep in medical consciousness for over 60 years, but this paper says no. Testosterone treatment is actually good for the prostate, not bad.

References

Morgentaler, A., "Testosterone and prostate cancer: an historical perspective on a modern myth," Eur Urol. 2006 Nov;50(5):935-9.Mark R. Feneley MD, FRCS (Urol), Malcolm Carruthers MD, "Is Testosterone Treatment Good for the Prostate? Study of Safety during Long-Term Treatment," The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 06 June 2012.

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Yeah, my doctor complains that a huge proportion of his colleagues still believe in the connection.   Thankfully he doesn't.   Must have been a topic in med school or something that they just won't let go.

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