I’m willing to bet you’ve heard the statistics before.
As often as they get cited you might even be able to recite them in your sleep by now.
- By age 65, about 75% of men will have prostate problems.
- By age 80, nine in 10 men will have prostate problems.
- One in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
But knowing the statistics is very little comfort if you’re in the group experiencing the problems. And the numbers certainly don’t mean a darn thing if you’re the one who happens to have been diagnosed with cancer.
In fact, it’s a statistic you probably haven’t heard until know that’s the one that you really need to know. And that’s that your chosen cancer treatment may actually be reducing your overall chances of survival by more than 12%.
Scientists believe that testosterone can help cancers grow. So androgen-deprivation therapy is designed to reduce the amount of testosterone in a man’s body with the aim of cutting off one of the avenues that cancer uses to grow and spread.
However, a recent study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics has found that the treatment may be putting you at grave risk.
According to researchers at the Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, if you have a pre-existing heart problem and you’re being treated for high-risk prostate cancer with hormones, your chances of dying are significantly higher than those of other patients receiving radiation alone.
The study included a total of 14,594 men with prostate cancer, and out of that group 9.4% had a history of heart problems. The researchers found that by five years after the start of treatment 31.8% of the heart-patient men who had received hormones had died as compared with 19.5% of the men who had received radiation therapy alone.
In other words, the treatment that was supposed to be increasing their chances of survival did exactly the opposite. Now that’s a case of salt being introduced to a wound if I’ve ever heard one.
The bottom line is that if you have a heart problem and are receiving hormone therapy to treat your prostate cancer, you need to have a serious discussion with your doctor about your alternatives as soon as possible. Doing so may very well save your life.
Editor’s Note: Do you know any men at risk for prostate problems? Scroll down to share with your friends or leave a comment.
Related articles of interest:
“Influence of Androgen Deprivation Therapy on All-Cause Mortality in Men with High-Risk Prostate Cancer and a History of Congestive Heart Failure or Myocardial Infarction,” International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics, published online 27 June 2011.