3 million prostate cancer survivors are at risk: Study

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Does prostate cancer increase your risk of dying from other diseases? A new study suggests that it might.

A team of scientists from Vanderbilt University has made a shocking discovery. According to a report from UPI, a new study has shown that survivors of prostate cancer have a significantly higher chance of dying from a different ailment. The biggest killer was also one of the most common killers in the U.S. – cardiovascular disease.

Scientists believe the increased mortality risk among prostate cancer survivors could be linked to androgen deprivation therapy, known as ADT. The treatment was found to contribute to a number of factors that can lead to heart disease. The treatment works to reduce serum testosterone levels, which can lead to a slowdown or complete stop in tumor growth.

That’s not all the treatment does, however. The study found that ADT was also linked to increased low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels, increased fat and lower lean body mass, increased insulin resistance and a drop in glucose tolerance, as well as a general metabolic state that mimics metabolic syndrome.

According to Dr. Alicia Morgans, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt, “No one is simply a prostate or a heart, and the treatments we use to treat one illness or another can dramatically affect the well-being of other parts of a patient.”

Scientists developed something they called the ABCDE algorithm to determine prostate cancer survivors’ risks of dying from heart disease. The test examines awareness and aspirin, blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol management and cigarette avoidance, diet and diabetes, and exercise – all things that should be considered when determining cardiovascular risk.

The new planning algorithm could be useful for assessing heart health risks in prostate cancer survivors, and the authors of the study emphasized the need to coordinate with specialists in order to keep a close eye on cardiovascular health, especially in men who have undergone ADT treatment.

“While ADT therapy is of great benefit to many patients with prostate cancer, it may also increase the risk of developing diabetes or having a heart attack or stroke,” wrote Dr. Eric Shinohara, the medical director of the Vanderbilt Radiation Oncology Clinic. “By collaborating with urology, medical oncology, and the cardio-oncology program, we are better able to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from hormones, and in those who do get hormones, how to better protect their cardiovascular system.”

A press release from Vanderbilt University describing the details of the study can be found here.

Wanda B. Hewlett

Wanda B. Hewlett (Contributor) is a freelance writer from the UK. When she’s not busy writing she loves to spend her time traveling, exploring and running.

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