Androgen Deprivation Therapy: This debunked prostate cancer treatment may give you Alzheimer’s? - Prostate cancer kills about 28,000 every year… just in the United States. And each year, about 220,000 new cases are diagnosed. As things stand, one man out of every six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime.

In my opinion, every many over the age of 50 should be thinking about his plan for dealing with this disease because so many of us will get it. Better to inform yourself about your options now, in a calm frame of mind, instead of waiting until you’re diagnosed – and fear sets in.

But please be aware one of the most common treatments doctors recommend might not help – even though it’s been the medical standard for nearly seven decades.

Worse yet, it could literally make you lose your mind! Here’s the full story. . .

It’s hard to believe, but I still encounter even top-notch integrative doctors who insist androgen deprivation therapy is a good option for prostate cancer. If alternative doctors are saying this, you can bet that legions of conventional doctors also push this conventional treatment.

They are sadly mistaken. It could be a severe double whammy to your health.

Doctors have clung to this dubious belief for 70 years

For decades, doctors have believed that male sex hormones — namely testosterone (T) — increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. They also believe T makes cancer cells grow more quickly.(1)

It all started in 1941 with Charles B. Huggins, a urologist at the University of Chicago. He conducted a study that “proved” to the medical world that testosterone therapy increases the risk of prostate cancer.(2)

Huggins studied dogs — the only animals (other than humans) that develop prostate problems regularly. He found that castration successfully shrank the dogs’ prostates and reduced cancer risk.

His conclusion from his canine study was simple: Prostate cancer shrinks with low T, and flourishes with high T.

Dr. Huggins did a similar study on men diagnosed with prostate cancer and found the same results. In 1966, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. And since then, doctors have never seriously questioned his conclusions… till recently.

Myth busted!

This entrenched but mistaken assumption has been preached like gospel in medical schools ever since. Med students and residents parrot it like they’d made the discovery themselves… namely, that low-T or castrated men were protected from prostate cancer.

The fact is, supplementary T can benefit a great many men. High testosterone levels are good for your health. But doctors are afraid to prescribe T because of the fear of triggering dormant prostate cancer cells. It’s all nonsense.

When today’s leading expert, Harvard-based Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, began his medical career, he started treating male medical problems. Early in his practice, he began using testosterone therapy.

But he had some doubts… He too was concerned that T would trigger prostate cancer in his patients.

Other doctors implored him to stop using testosterone, fearful he’d spark a new wave of prostate cancer cases. One of his former medical school professors advised Dr. Morgentaler to stop, and added that if he continued to offer men T therapy, he should at least do a prostate biopsy first to make sure they didn’t have cancer.

So he started performing prostate biopsies to make sure there were no dormant cancer cells waiting to erupt.

Of the first 33 low-T men Dr. Morgentaler biopsied, six already had cancer – a rate of about 14 percent.3 Cancer rates at the time were between 0 and 2 percent.

And this 14 percent rate held steady as he tested more and more men with low testosterone.4

He was baffled. Why did cancer seem to flare up with T treatment, and yet such a high percentage of his low-T patients already had cancer? It didn’t make sense. Men with low T were supposed to enjoy protection against prostate cancer.

At the risk of being called a heretic, he started thinking that all the stories linking testosterone level to prostate cancer risk might be wrong.

After all, how often does prostate cancer strike men in their twenties when their T levels are at their lifetime peak? Instead, prostate cancer risk greatly increases as men age, when T is lower.

Finally his curiosity got the best of him.

He discovered the shocking truth in the archives

One afternoon he dug into the archives and went all the way back to Dr. Huggins’ original research. And that’s where Dr. Morgentaler discovered a shocking truth.

Huggins had based his conclusion about testosterone being “fuel for the fire” of prostate cancer on the basis of just one single patient! 5

After more detailed study, Dr. Morgentaler developed these revised (and more accurate) conclusions:

  • Low testosterone does not protect against prostate cancer and probably increases your risk.
  • High testosterone does not increase your risk of prostate cancer.
  • Even men at high risk for prostate cancer don’t seem to suffer any sudden “explosion” of cancer when treated for a year with T therapy.

After he and a colleague immersed themselves in every bit of existing medical literature for a full year, they were stunned to discover that not a single study in human patients suggested that raising T levels increases the risk of prostate cancer.

Most doctors didn’t know what to make of Dr. Morgentaler’s results (and still don’t).

What’s more, there’s another late-breaking shocking fact your doctor probably doesn’t know yet…

Dr. Huggins’ “proven” treatment can cause dementia

It can take many years to alter established and cherished medical beliefs. That’s unfortunate for you. (And it’s why we bring you news from recent breakthrough studies here.)

Unbelievably, doctors still try to kill or slow the growth of prostate cancer with androgen deprivation therapy.6

This treatment reduces your testosterone levels, which does NOT protect you from prostate cancer, as Dr. Morgentaler’s work demonstrates.

Along with that glaring disadvantage, it also increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to Dr. John E. Morley, director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.7

The male brain needs testosterone to function properly. The frontal lobe of the male brain contains testosterone receptors, and without testosterone to attach to these receptors, a man ends up feeling depressed, unmotivated, grumpy – and what we used to call “impotent.”

Just for starters. Eventually, he may lose cognitive function and have memory problems.

Low T speeds up neurodegeneration and slows your brain function. It increases beta amyloid proteins (the physical deterioration in the brain that is believed to cause Alzheimer’s). Low T also prevents your neurotransmitters from working properly.

Studies show that men with Alzheimer’s and dementia tend to have low T levels. To be sure, most such men are usually old, and older men tend to have lower T levels anyway. But you do not have to submit to low T as you age. And if you refuse to, you will protect yourself against dementia.8 & 9

Mental decline associated with low T can happen rapidly… in as little as one year.10 You don’t want to fool around with this risk.

Resolving the final paradox

For decades, the story line was that lowering T caused prostate cancer to shrink while raising it caused cancer to grow. Even though he came to doubt the second proposition, Dr. Morgentaler knew he’d indeed seen benefits from lower T levels many times for advanced prostate cancer in his practice.

So the paradox was: If lowering T made cancers shrink, how could raising T levels not make them grow?

Here’s what he finally found out…

All the reports of testosterone sparking rapid prostate cancer growth occurred in men who already had extremely low T levels, due to castration or estrogen treatment.

Once you move beyond that near-castrate range, there’s scant evidence that T concentrations matter at all to prostate cancer.

A landmark 2006 article showed in grand fashion that raising T levels in the blood did not raise T levels in the prostate.

It’s almost as if once the prostate has enough testosterone, any more is treated as excess and thrown back to the bloodstream. So once you’re above the point where the prostate is saturated with T, adding more has little if any effect on prostate cancer growth.

But please remember… it can take decades to change cherished assumptions, even when new evidence is staring people in the face.

So don’t be surprised if your own doctor still raises this issue with you if you’re considering T therapy. You can refer him to this article, or to Dr. Morgentaler’s definitive book, Testosterone for Life.

In the meantime, you can also use the following strategies to boost your own T levels or reduce your prostate cancer risk:

Eat the right foods

Certain foods help reduce your risk of prostate cancer, including tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and green tea.

You can also take iodine, selenium, and magnesium (while reducing calcium) to help fight prostate cancer, according to Dr. Mark Sircus, director of the International Medical Veritas Association.

Testosterone-boosting foods include cabbage, asparagus, pumpkin seeds, natural honey (not the cheap store variety), garlic, free-range eggs, bananas, oysters, Ricotta cheese, citrus, spinach, red grapes, wild salmon, and avocados.

Get enough sun

Vitamin D helps fight prostate cancer. Coincidentally, it also helps boost T levels.

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight on your skin (taking care not to burn; a few minutes of sun per day is all that’s required). If you can’t get enough direct sunlight where you live, try a high-quality D3 supplement until the weather changes.

Shed extra pounds

High obesity correlates with low testosterone. Fat is an enemy of testosterone. Regular exercise helps fight the battle of the bulge, and helps control your insulin levels. Too much insulin boosts your risk of cancer.11

Learn to relax

The high cortisol produced when you’re under stress depletes your T levels. So find ways to relax. Proven methods include exercise, calming music, daily meditation, laughter, and hanging out with friends.

If you’ve got prostate cancer,
here’s your bottom line. . .

Don’t let your doctor scare you into refusing therapy aimed at increasing your testosterone level. If you do get prostate cancer and your doctor wants to treat you with androgen deprivation therapy, bear in mind the very real dangers of low T. And have the strength of character to decide on your own course of treatment.

One reason I published this article is because doctors I respect continued to tell me that androgen deprivation is a good treatment for prostate cancer. It was odd. We had looked into this matter thoroughly several years ago in our book Maximum Manhood, which deals with testosterone, prostate health and other men’s issues (the book is an excellent guide, if I do say so myself).

We found back then that boosting your testosterone levels does NOT increase your risk of prostate cancer. Why was this bogus treatment still around? Did we get it wrong? I wanted to check our facts again – and, as you can see, we confirmed what we’d found before.

References Article:
1 Morgentaler MD, Abraham. Life Extension Magazine. “Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer.” December 2008.
2Huggins C, Hodges CV. Studies on prostate cancer. I. The effect of castration, of estrogen and of androgen injection on serum phosphatases in metastatic carcinoma of the prostate. Cancer Res 1941; 1: 293-297.
3Morgentaler MD, Abraham. Life Extension Magazine. “Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer.” December 2008.
6Azvolisky MD, Anna. Cancer Network. “Can Testosterone Treat Prostate Cancer?” January 9, 2015.
7Saint Louis University. “Low testosterone linked to Alzheimer’s disease.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2010.
8Fawcett NTP, Elaine. Natural Health Advisory Institute. “Low Testosterone May Raise the Risk for Dementia and Alzheimer’s.” March 27, 2015.
9Saint Louis University. “Low testosterone linked to Alzheimer’s disease.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2010.
10Low Testosterone Levels Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease in Older Men. Medscape. Oct 14, 2010.

Editor in Chief: Lee Euler Contributing Editors:  Carl Lowe, Mindy Tyson McHorse, Carol Parks, Rae Robinson and Michael Sellar Webmaster: Holly Cornish Fulfillment & Customer Service: Joe Ackerson and Cami Lemr

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Editor's Note:

A meta-analysis of 35 published studies that tracked heart attacks and heart disease in men taking testosterone was published in Lancet (2022). It found no association between testosterone and heart attacks and in fact in most studies, men on testosterone had fewer heart attacks. The authors eventually conclude that while we need more long-term data, their analysis shows no cardiac risks.

Related: Prostate Cancer Treatment Can Wait for Most Men, Study Finds



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