Common Hormone Therapy to Treat Prostate Cancer May Increase Dementia Risk in Men

Cancer survivors have special health concerns after treatment. Researchers, for instance, are working to investigate any link between cancer treatment and the development of dementia. A leading cancer journal published results of a recent study which seems to suggest that a routinely used hormone therapy for prostate cancer patients may double the individual’s lifetime risk of dementia diagnosis. The study falls short of proving a link between testosterone lowering therapy and the development of disorders marked by cognitive decline, however the level of risk suggested in the findings is prompting researchers to call for further investigation. Hormone therapies work by lowering the level of hormones which are known to stimulate cancer cell growth. Detrimental side-effects of hormone therapy are understood, but new findings will present new questions about the boarder effect of manipulating hormone levels in the body.

Key Points:

  • 1Researchers discovered a dramatic association between Alzheimer’s disease and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a mainstay of treatment for prostate cancer.
  • 2Drastically reducing androgen activity can cause low testosterone levels, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which are also known risk factors for dementia.
  • 3As the population of older, long-term cancer survivors continues to rise, the health issues that cancer therapies can leave in their wake will become increasingly important.

Studies have found associations between low testosterone levels and obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which are also known risk factors for dementia.

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