Common Prostate Cancer Treatment Increases Risk of Heart Disease?

Do you know what the most common forms of cancer among men are?

Topping the list is non-melanoma skin cancer. Second is prostate cancer.

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According to the CDC, prostate cancer occurs in 101.4 men per 100,000, followed by lung and bronchus cancer occurring in only 64.3 men per 100,000. While lung and bronchus cancer kill about 46.9 men per 100,000, prostate cancer is second with a death rate of 19.4 men per 100,000. Incidentally, it seems that certain parts of the United States have higher or lower rates of prostate cancer, as seen in this map from the CDC.

In 2016, the last year the CDC had statistics for, there were 192,443 NEW cases of prostate cancer and in the same year, 30,370 men died of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is not race specific. Per the same CDC statistics, the incidents of new prostate cancer cases reported in 2016 per 100,000 men breaks downs as follows – 160.5 for blacks, 91.9 for whites, 79.5 for Hispanics, 50.6 for Asian/Pacific Islander and 49.2 American Indian.

The older a man gets, the greater his risk of developing prostate cancer. I’ve seen reports that about 1 in 3 men 80 or older will develop prostate cancer. This is why annual screening is so important for men 50 and over.

How does a man know he may have prostate cancer? In most cases, there are no symptoms or signs of the early stages of prostate cancer. The most common form of detection for prostate cancer is through either a PSA test or DRE screening. If there are indications of cancer in these tests, then further testing and screening is warranted.

As the prostate cancer develops, the following symptoms may appear – frequent urination, including at night, a weak or interrupted flow of urine, need to force bladder to empty, blood in urine, blood in seminal fluid, erectile dysfunction, pain or burning during urination and pain when sitting. Note that some of these symptoms are also the same for high blood pressure and taking blood pressure medications, diabetes and kidney infection.

If the prostate cancer spreads out from the prostate gland, symptoms can include – pain in the back, hips, thighs; swelling of fluid buildup in feet and legs, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and change in bowel patterns.

One of the most common forms of treatment for prostate cancer is hormone therapy. This therapy is designed to reduce the male hormones (androgens), including testosterone, from feeding the prostate cancer. This is especially true in more advanced stages of prostate cancer and when the cancer has spread out from the prostate.

While hormone therapy does help with controlling or slowing down prostate cancer, it has its down side, as reported:

my link Doctors have known that hormone therapy may increase a man’s risk of developing heart disease. Its potential side effects include spikes in blood sugar, blood cholesterol and body fat — all of which contribute to heart problems.

But newer types of hormone therapy have become available in the past seven to eight years. And much less is known about their heart-related risks, said lead researcher Grace Lu-Yao, professor of medical oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

So her team focused on older patients who’d received either abiraterone (Zytiga) or enzalutamide (Xtandi) — two newer pills that suppress androgens.

Overall, the study found, men with cardiovascular disease were at somewhat higher risk of dying within six months of starting treatment, versus other patients.

The risk was most clear among men with three or more cardiovascular conditions: They were roughly 50% more likely to die, versus men with healthy hearts.

Cardiovascular disease included atherosclerosis (clogged heart arteries), heart failure, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder), or a history of heart attack or stroke.

If you are one of the thousands of men who develop prostate cancer, before starting hormone therapy, make sure to have your heart and related health fully tested. If you have heart issues, then you have to weigh the pros and cons of taking the hormone therapy and the risk it poses to your heart health.

 

 

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