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Study Says Testosterone Therapy Does Not Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

Hypogonadism is a condition characterized by low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and unfavorable changes in body composition, such as weight gain despite regular exercise. Testosterone therapy is routinely used to treat hypogonadism, and a recent study has found that long-term testosterone therapy does not increase the risk of prostate cancer in men with hypogonadism.

Participants in the study included 1,023 hypogonadal men on testosterone therapy. The researchers did follow up for a median of approximately 5 years, and in some cases as long as 17 years. Cohort 1 consisted of 261 men while cohort 2 included 340 men. Both groups began being treated by urologists in 2004. Cohort 3 included 422 men who were treated at an academic andrology center starting in 1996.

By the conclusion of the study, there were six (2.3%) diagnoses of prostate cancer in cohort 1, five (1.5%) diagnoses in cohort 2, and none in cohort 3. Incidences of prostate cancer per 10,000 patient-years in cohorts 1 and 2 were 54.4 and 30.7, respectively. Those numbers are lower than the 116 incidences reported by the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Screening Trial and the 96.6 reported by the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer.

The researchers concluded that properly applied testosterone therapy is safe for hypogonadal men.

Researchers from Bremerhaven, Germany, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 26, 2014, in The Journal of Urology.

While testosterone levels decline naturally as men age, sometimes they can become too low. Low testosterone symptoms include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, hair loss and irritability. Blood test can confirm low testosterone levels.

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