Approximately 16% of all men (1 man in 6) will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Of these, 8% will display serious symptoms. Three percent will die.
Around 600,000 prostate cancer patients are receiving treatments with ADT, or androgen deprivation therapy. This drug blocks the male hormones that enable the cancer to thrive. The problem is that the latest research links ADT to bone decay through microarchitectural changes in the cortical and trabecular portions of the bone.New technology provides new insight.
This is the first study conducted to determine the effects of ADT on bone structure. From prior studies researchers had an idea that ADT caused a reduction of bone mineral density and increased fragility. But to get a clear picture of the structural effects researchers had to use a new technology called “virtual bone biopsy” which produces a 3D image.
What they found is that ADT is linked to structural decay of the bone’s hard outer shell (cortical) and the spongy inner tissue (trabecular).
During a 12-month study, scientists tracked 26 men with an average age of 70. These men had nonmetastatic prostate cancer and were receiving ADT. Several times during the year, they determined the patient’s sex hormone levels. These levels are indicators of bone mineral density and bone turnover. Using the new technology, they obtained virtual bone biopsies. The results:
After receiving ADT for 12 months, there was significant reduction in density at the distal radius and distal tibia (bone in the forearm and shinbone, respectively). A link was established between total testosterone and volumetric bone mass density.
These findings are significant because the virtual bone biopsy technology may be useful in predicting fractures in prostate cancer patients. Serious bone fractures in the elderly can lead to slow-healing infections, which can cause a host of other complications.
How common are fractures after receiving hormone-suppression therapy?
One study found that among men with a 5-year survival rate after diagnosis and receiving hormone suppression, the risk of fractures requiring hospitalization doubled.
While ADT therapy has saved countless lives, there are other side effects as well including hot flashes, mental fogginess, and loss of strength and muscle mass. Strategies to decrease prostate cancer risks.
While prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, there are strategies to decrease risk including eating more vegetables, get plenty of vitamin E, eliminate sugars, and get plenty of sunlight.
These simple changes in diet and lifestyle provide a great natural preventative tool against prostate cancer.