Common Prostate Cancer Treatment Tied to Higher Alzheimer's Risk
A common treatment for prostate cancer has been tied to a notably higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
That treatment, known as androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT, is designed to lower levels of testosterone, a hormone that can fuel some types of prostate cancer.
The study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University, analyzed the cases of more than 16,000 men being treated for prostate cancer and it found that those who received any kind of ADT had nearly twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's over the next few years as men who were getting other treatments. Those treated for more than a year had an even higher risk.
There had been previous suspicions. Men who take ADT often complain about troubling side effects, from weight gain to mood swings, impotence and hot flashes. Many also report memory loss or problems thinking. While the study does not show that the treatment causes Alzheimer's, the scientists believe there's enough of a connection to merit more extensive research.
After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the biggest cancer killer in men. It kills about 30,000 American men every year.