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Testosterone and Prostate Cancer

Many men who start testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have concerns over testosterone and the theoretical risk of prostate cancer associated with it. Some men have heard that it increases your risk of developing prostate cancer but is there any truth to this?

The simple answer is, we don’t know for sure. There are experimental models that show that testosterone does fuel prostate cancer growth in the lab, but does this cross over into the body? The majority of recent research is showing that TRT DOES NOT increase the risk of prostate cancer. 

There are a handful of studies that have shown a correlation between elevated testosterone levels and prostate cancer, but many of these studies were of poor design and did not take into account other factors. To date, there are no studies that definitively show testosterone replacement therapy is an independent risk factor for the development of prostate cancer. On the other hand, many studies have linked low testosterone to increased risks of prostate cancer while others have shown there is no correlation at all.

A study published in 2014 from Haider and colleagues followed men on TRT for 5 years. They observed that men undergoing TRT had a LOWER incidence of prostate cancer than those who were not.

A recent study published in 2018 by the University of Washington examined the records of 147,000 veterans within the VA who were diagnosed with low testosterone. Of those, 58,000 underwent testosterone replacement therapy. Over a period of 8 years they examined how many of these men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. They showed no correlation of prostate cancer development between those undergoing treatment and those who were not.

Available current data does not suggest an increased risk of developing prostate cancer in men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. There remains no clear association between the two while on the other hand there are multiple studies that show lower testosterone levels are associated with increased prostate cancer severity. 

Regardless of the promising data pointing towards TRT safety, we still take precautions at Alpha Medical. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a way the medical community screens for and monitors prostate cancer progression. Levels typically elevate when one has prostate cancer. So we monitor your PSA before the initiation of treatment, at 6 weeks, and every 2-3 months afterward to ensure treatment safety. 

Many men enjoy the benefits testosterone therapy brings to their lives, including improved mood, libido, body composition, erection quality, etc… There are risks associated with any type of medical treatment and we make it a priority to minimize these risks and to carefully monitor for them. If you are interested in a consultation, please call our office today.

Justin Montgomery, NP

Clinical Director, Alpha Medical