Treatment Truths and Myths
This week Brett Newcomb and I are focusing on the issue of Prostate Cancer in men and the myth that if you treat prostate cancer with testosterone, the cancer will get worse, not better. Most doctors believe this and do not know it is a myth. The research on which this opinion rests was done over fifty years ago. Newer research done my a Harvard physician named Morgentaler has proven that this conclusion is incorrect. But he has had a very difficult time getting mainstream medicine to change its mind about what is a “standard treatment” and something “everyone knows”.
In this podcast we discuss the difficulty of trying to unlearn something and trying to change a core belief or an anchor message that everyone accepts as common wisdom and certain knowledge. Sometimes, things that all medical professionals believe turn out to be wrong. When that happens, it takes a lot of time and struggle to change the belief system of practicing physicians and physician educators who have been invested in teaching and learning the wrong thing.
Here is the thing that Dr. Morgentaler has discovered and is trying to say to all of us:
- Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer
- Testosterone does not make prostate cancer worse
- Testosterone will initially increase the seize of your prostate, but once the prostate is saturated with the appropriate amount of testosterone, it stops absorbing more testosterone. The prostate does not take any more than what it needs to maintain itself and so it does not increase the size after the initial adjustment to the added testosterone. Your prostate does not get any bigger when you are given testosterone and you don’t get cancer if you don’t already have it, and if you do have it, it does not get worse because you have been given testosterone!
It is important for men and their doctors to understand that replacing lost testosterone does not increase the risk of developing prostate cancers. It does not make existing cancers worse, and it may help slow down the growth of existing prostate cancer cells.
Prostate Cancer is truly an illness that men should concern themselves with as they age. Some of the treatments may be worse than the disease! What happens to you is a matter of careful planning with information and choice being the best way forward. It is usually very slow moving. In fact, most men who get prostate cancer after they are 75 do not treat it aggressively. This is because the secondary issues from the treatment of prostate cancer are so awful for most men. Most men and their doctors chose after the age of 75 to just let it run its course. However, a treatment that could help your quality of life if you do develop prostate cancer is replacement of testosterone. You should definitely think about replacing your lost testosterone if you are over 45 and do not have prostate caner and you should probably think about it even if you do. Listen to our podcast and see for yourself.