I have often written about the subject of prostate cancer in that I watched my grandfather die of the disease 3 months after diagnosis. Here is another bad therapy conjured up by the medical profession. One of the things that I have often discussed is the tack of active surveillance as opposed to more radical treatment(s).
It’s called androgen deprivation therapy, ADT for short, and it works like this: drugs (and there are several that can be used) are administered, often by injection, to suppress testosterone production – lowering testosterone levels has been shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. But wait. Now, from researchers at Tulane University, comes a study showing that for men with low-grade, slow-growing disease, ADT can do more harm than good. There are two reasons for that: 1) low-grade prostate cancer is unlikely to do much harm in and of itself; and 2) ADT can lead to several unpleasant health issues, including hot flashes, loss of libido, fracture risk, muscle loss, fatigue, depression, diabetic risk, erectile dysfunction and weight gain. OK, what should be done about low-grade cancer? The researchers have two words: “active surveillance.”
As an aside, I find it interesting that most men suffer from prostate cancer at a time in their lives when their testosterone levels are low as opposed to when testosterone is coursing through their veins. Some in the medical profession argue that low testosterone rather than high testosterone is a possible risk factor for prostate cancer.