Testosterone and Prostate Cancer — The Real Story
Testosterone and prostate cancer have long been linked, and when I say long I mean since the 1940’s.
This myth that testosterone therapy somehow increases the risk for prostate cancer has lingered for years, despite the growing body of evidence to suggest otherwise (see this article from European Urology and this article from the New York Times to learn more).
Although some people will still try to argue that testosterone can somehow increase the risk of prostate cancer, most experts will agree that testosterone in and of itself does not cause prostate cancer, or any other form of cancer for that matter.
In fact some studies have suggested the exact opposite by demonstrating that men with chronically low levels of testosterone have a higher predilection towards developing the disease relative to men with normal T levels.
It should also be noted that the goal of testosterone treatment at TCT is to simply normalize your T level, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Unfortunately, one does not simply reverse a decades-old myth in an instant. There are many other sources out there who still push the idea that testosterone increases the risk of prostate cancer and as a result, some people become forced to live with the lifelong consequences of Low T.
These outdated methods and mindsets are the result of ingrained practices, fear and ways of thinking that are too deeply entrenched to be changed. But even if all this were true (the data is inconclusive at best), testosterone therapy has potential benefit when it comes to the detection of cancer.
Testosterone Therapy Can Actually Help Detect Prostate Cancer
When it comes to testosterone and prostate cancer, one of the greatest benefits of testosterone therapy for low T is that, here at Testosterone Centers of Texas, we routinely check for various abnormalities in your blood.
We check levels prior to beginning treatment and on a routine basis concurrent with TRT. In fact, we check them so regularly that we can find evidence of an abnormality much sooner than it otherwise may have been detected!
In order to properly manage your testosterone levels, we do blood work at scheduled intervals (typically every 90 days) to make sure that your testosterone levels are not too high or too low.
We do this because as opposed to what you may have been lead to believe in the past, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to testosterone dosing. We simply determine that your current dose is resulting in normal testosterone levels; i.e. it’s not too high or too low, but just right.
While we are checking your testosterone levels, we are also looking a variety of other lab panels to ensure that your body is agreeing with your maintenance dose of testosterone. Another way to say that is we want to ensure everything is well tolerated on a biochemical level.
One of the most routine tests we perform is PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). While there is clearly room for concern for an abnormal PSA level at the beginning of treatment, we pay very close attention to how your PSA level behaves over the course of therapy. This is called a PSA Velocity or a change in your PSA from x to y over a set period of time.
This is because there may be an association between higher levels of testosterone, which you would experience on treatment, and accelerated growth of an existing cancer in the prostate. To be clear, the data is inconclusive and has not nailed down a definitive relationship however we have seen a handful of these cases clinically.
The key factor to take away from this is that had these men not initiated TRT and not underwent regular testing of their PSA level, these cancers may have went undetected for years.
As you’re probably aware, early detection is paramount in improving one’s odds of beating practically any type of existing malignancy. Across the board, our patients were grateful that they made the decision to start testosterone therapy because it lead to early detection of a cancer that they didn’t know they had and in turn, may have added years to their lives.
Testosterone Therapy Is Part of a Good Preventative Health Plan
The best treatment for any disease is to prevent if from happening in the first place and while this usually begins with risk factor modification, it certainly doesn’t end there.
We think oftentimes our genes (heredity) can play a role in predisposing one to various forms of disease and the same can be said for prostate cancer. The best evidence-based medicine we have to date suggests that testosterone and prostate cancer are not definitively linked.
It should be stated however that the potential for early detection of prostate cancer is by no means a reason to start testosterone therapy.
But you should know that testosterone treatment at Testosterone Centers of Texas may not only help you squash the symptoms of low T in the here and now, but if managed appropriately, may contribute to numerous beneficial effects to your health over the years to come; some of which are clearly known and some of which may be incidental.
Either way, a healthier, happier you is what we’re all about.
If you think it’s time to start testosterone therapy, if you think you’re struggling with low T, and if you’re ready to take the next step in forming your own preventative health plan, click to the button below to schedule a free consultation.