Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Hormone treatment for early prostate cancer may increase risk of Alzheimer's disease


A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology , reporting research at Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, reports that men who take testosterone-blocking drugs to treat (early stage) prostate cancer run an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  Melinda Beck has a story on p. 3 of the Wall Street Journal on December 8, 2015, link here.  The treatment is called, rather bluntly, "chemical castration".
 
I had an elevated PSA with my physical in 2010 and was encouraged to see a urologist.  But the level went down on its own by 2011, after Mother’s passing, probably because of less stress and a lower fat diet when doing own cooking.

In the past medical journals, going all the way back to the notorious “Modern Home Medical Advisor” red book of the 1950s that used to sit on the attic stairs, talked about castration and administration of female sex hormones as a treatment for prostate cancer.  I saw this as involuntary “sex change”.  My own father died just before his 83rd birthday of aggressively metastasizing prostate cancer, but was ill for only four weeks. He was given DES at the end, but probably didn’t want to face the implications of treatment like this.  He didn’t believe in living through absolutely anything.

Catching cancer early does increase the likelihood of cure, but it can require challenging social support from others.

The story is interesting also in that it does seem that testosterone really does mediate intellectual development for teens.

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