Was Told by my doctor that Testosterone causes cancer

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I went to my doctor and she said that a PSA is needed for screening purposes. I asked why and she said that TRT can cause cancer. I told her I have heard nothing of this and if it does I would have never started it. I have read that being on TRT can fuel cancer that is already there making it grow faster and more likely to be agressive in nature. She looked at me with  a puzzled look and said really well maybe you are right I will check into it. OMG! this is my doctor. Now what the heck am I supposed to think. I have never read anything that links TRT to causing cancer, fueling it yes, but causing it no. I have also read that men with low T are at a higher risk of developing cancer so it would be safe to say I am better off on TRT than not. I wouldn't be on it, but my body no longer makes it so it was 0. My side effects from this were really bad. It is like having chronic fatigue syndrome and sexual difunction. With a side of extreme depression. It was terrible and I don't want to go back to feeling that way, but the doctor would like me to stop due to cancer risk and blood clotting. I am getting checked regularly for blood issues and have no desire to take a PSA test. I believe it will open Pandoras box. I wish to leave it alone. What is a guy supposed to do? It is a catch 22 no good answer.

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  • Posted

    Your situation is one of those instances in which the medical community have been misled by faulty research published a century ago. That study was poorly performed, had no controls, yet has influenced modern medicine up to the present. On the other side of the coin there are literally hundreds of peer reviewed publications showing a strong link between low T and prostate cancer risk. Even worse, studies have shown that T depletion as a treatment is highly likely to make prostate cancer more likely and perhaps also more aggressive. Surprisingly, many if not the majority of physicians still have not gotten the message that TRT is the way to go when the patient has low T. As for PSA, that test is highly controversial as it is notorious for false positives alarming patients and leading them unnecessarily into getting prostate biopsies that are notorious for false negatives, yet are the most used diagnostic tool for prostate cancer. Far better for diagnosis of suspect prostate cancer is MRI of the prostate with visual guidance of the biopsy  needle to the suspect tumor. That said the PSA remains the best early detection of prostate cancer. PSA testing has a high false positive rate but a low false negative rate. Therefore a normal PSA is, although not infallible, reassuring. A positive PSA is scary but probably the vast majority of positive PSA tests turn out to be false alarms usually associated with bph which is highly coo on in males over age 50. So yes you are correct in your assessment. This area of medicine is a mess. But it's the best we have so you have no choice but educate yourself and if necessary your physician as to how you intend to negotiate this maze of options to make sure you get the correct diagnosis and treatment. Sadly you will have to be proactive and work closely with your physician, and yes, don't be shocked if you come to realize your information is better than your physician. As patients we really have no choice and rolling the dice and hoping for the best is not necessarily your best option.

     

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    • Posted

      True, I have heard that starving the cancer by denying testosterone does seem to keep it from growing, but I have also heard that it is a good idea to enact TRT in order to prevent it from coming back. In my case I hope I started TRT soon enough to get the benafits of it. I started it at age 38. I am now 47 and having symptoms of BPH, so needless to say am really scared to have a PSA test done as I am sure it will be high. I don't want to end up being biopsied for no good reason. The mental stress this can cause someone is pretty high. I don't wish to have my PSA taken for that reason, it would be detrimental to my mental stability. I have explained that to my doctor and she didn't understand why I felt this way. I understand why she doesn't agree with me, but she doesn't really want to respect my wishes. I don't think a doctor should give a man a PSA test without first explaining to him what to expect.
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  • Posted

    Craig, I go to a Holistic Doctor occasionaly and she recommended I take the hormone DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) to boost my testosterone levels. DHEA is normally produced by our adrenal gland but after our 40's production can be cut in half. DHEA is the building block for our bodies to make testosterone. I'm 65 and my testosterone levels range from 340 to 600 ng/dL. I take 10mg of DHEA daily. Might be a consideration for you to look into. 
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    • Posted

      Let me ask you does DHEA cause your prostate to enlarge? I have been thinking about taking DHEA, but didn't get any yet as I have a prostate that is enlarged making it difficult to urinate. My testosterone is only at 400 last time it was checked. It was as high as 1600 but the doctor made me reduce my level. I would prefer it to be 600 to 800. This is when I felt the best. Without TRT I was at 0 to 30. Pretty much non existant. This I found out can increase the risk of prostate cancer. So I need to maintain my level. If the doctor takes me off of it my risk will go up again. I feel like they are trying to kill me.
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  • Posted

    Hello I have read that TRT does not cause cancer but If you have prostate cancer it will make it worse.  Mine is low I am on a testosterone gel for almost a year and have no problem  Take care  Ken
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  • Posted

    Craig,, I do understand your concern and anxiety over taking the PSA. I admit freely I too am anxious every time I take the PSA and at my age, 73 years, I take the PSA annually. And to to your point I have e peri ended on several occasions elevated PSA levels, that if taken at face value would have bought me a ticket for biopsy. In every instance of my elevatedSA reading, I had a spurious result and each instance was caused by a different reason. My most recent PSA at age 73 was 1.1. Here is my take home point to you: false positives for cancer are to be expected on the PSA. False negatives, are rare. So a good result on your PSA is and should be to you highly reassuring. And if one PSA comes back positive, just wait a week and take the PSA again. Keep in mind if you take a dozen repeat pSA exams and they are all elevated then you may indeed have prostate cancer and then the next step would be a biopsy. As for my false positive PSA readings, the first time it happened it was a lab error. The next time, I had had sex the day before and sex causes a rise in PSA. Another instance, it was caused by running the day before the test and yet another was caused by riding my Mt. Bike. So now when faced with an impending PSA and abstain from all those fun activities a full week before the blood withdrawal. So you see, you do have a lot of control over what happens on your PSA exam. Whatever you decide to do, do not allow a Urologist to persuade you to take a transrectal prostate biopsy usually conducted in their office. If you are convinced you need a biopsy have it performed via MRI imaging. You may have to travel to find an MRI guided biopsy of the prostate. Think OS the MRI guided prostate as using a guided missed to find a specific tumor. By contrast the transrectal approach uses a shotgun approach which is painful, has a high infection rate, and may even cause your prostate cancer to spread outside of your prostate, assuming one did actually have a prostate cancer.  Bottom line, prostate cancer if you catch it early, is a fixable disease and you may even be able to eradicate your cancer without sacrificing your prostate, sex life, and quality of life. So man up and go get that PSA done.
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    • Posted

      Wow, nice low PSA score. At your age that is golden. I thank you for the response. I am worried because my prostate is enlarged and causing issues with urination. I believe it is due to prostititus. I have had this happen to me when I was younger and it always went away on it's own. As far as biopsy, I would never let them do the transrectal method on me. I have done a lot of research on it and I would do what you said. The only problem is cost. If insurance doesn't cover it I would be unable to have the MRI type. Not sure what I would do then. I am low risk as far as no one in my family has ever had prostate cancer. I am low in testosterone and vitamin D so I have read that I am at increased risk because of this. So naturally scared. Every time I go to the doctor they seem to find something else wrong with me. I have Crohn's disease, Osteoperosis, IBS, Severe Spinal Stenosis and sleep Apnea so far. I really don't want to find out I have cancer. It would crush me mentally. I hear what you are saying though could be good if I test under 2.5. But how. Maybe take extra prednisone.
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    • Posted

      I think it is good to have a PSA.  It gives you something to go by but you have the final said.  There are likey you say false positive and false negatives.  I had one when I was 47 took 10 needles turned out to be a prostate infection.  Men what ever you do told don't let a doctor talk to into having the prostate remove find out were the cancer is and what kind you have .  If it is in the back of the prostate or on the bottom.  That is a slow growing cancer.  Most of the time you have 10 to 15 years before it become a concern..  There is a artical that all men should read. " I want my Prostate Back. "   Remember guy he will only give you some of the information you have to research it yourself.  Most doctors tell you that your sex life will be the same only you will have retro but want they don't say is that if they remove the prostate your sex will not be the same .  It takes up to 2 years to get it back and that is only if you can and your erection will be less.  So please think before you do anything.  Take care my friends    Ken
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    • Posted

      That is my point, I don't want to go in for a biopsy unless they are absolutely positive that I have prostate cancer. If my PSA is high I tend to worry and that alone can have big consequences for me not to mention I would want to make sure it isn't so I would have to have a biopsy done. I want to avoid biopsy at all costs. I am sure that I have prostititus but I think it is caused by fungus not bacteria. It is a bad thing to biopsy an infected prostate because you risk sepsis,
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    • Posted

      Well they cannot tell you have prostate cancer without a biopsy or some kind of like exam. It's your call. If you do have PC then in a few years you will have more to worry about than a biopsy. 
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    • Posted

      We kinda got off topic above. Really what this is about is whether TRT increases the chance of cancer or not. It has been said that those that are low on testosterone have an increased risk of prostate cancer, but some believe that TRT will also increase the risk. really I don't think doctors know the answer to this. I am one that would rather not know about having cancer unless it is fixable and I remain functional. Also largely depends on the age of diagnosis. If I am 75 then I see no point in treating it as most likely I will die from heart disease first. It also depends on how aggressive the cancer is. So many factors make the decision complicated, but ultimately we all want to survive with A decent quality of life. The research on this is still poor and researchers are still looking for better ways to detect PC and figure out if it is the aggressive type or not. Until then we still have Biopsy and the human error factor. I hope that one day we can take PC off the table as a problem. It may be as simple as a vaccine.
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    • Posted

      It's a personal decision based on a complex series of variables. I was 68 when I was diagnosed and treated. I still work am in good health with a strong heart, so my life expectancy could be 15 more years. I know guys with metastic PC and it is not fun to have or die with it. So I moved fast. Yes, there is a risk factor but there is a risk factor to everything in life. In short, you do what works for you. Good luck
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    • Posted

      The first thing they like to do is get the prostate out if they find cancer.  But why should you have your prostate out if it slow growing.  Sometimes it take 10 to 15 years before it would cause a problem.  The ide effect alot of men do not like.  And what kind of life are you going to have wiithout sex.  I'm 60 and I want it all.  My prostate is staying right were it is.  The other treatments some are just as bad.  Another treatment is chamical or surgical castration of the testicles to slow down the cancer.  It stops the testosterone.  The doctor tell you that is will feel the same with the plastic ones in.  I done't think so. What ever treatment you pick please look at all the side effect and get as much information you can.  ken        
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    • Posted

      Wow, I have never heard of plastic testicles. I can't help but laugh at that one. I agree one needs to get the facts and make an informed decision. I had my day with the urologist today. She had to feel my prostate and take some fluid from it which didn't do any good because they don't culture it. I hurt really bad. So her concl;usion is yes I have Prostatitis which is what I thought but to press on an inflammed prostate causes pain. Now I have to take antibiotics for a month, god help me. I made the mistake of asking her if I needed a PSA and she said yes at age 40 because I am on TRT. I told her that I didn't want to bother until age 50 and got a lecture from her. So what happened to this being my body and my decision with what I will have done to it. Why is it up to a doctor to tell me that I will have one with no choice. It makes me angry, after all I wouldn't tell her she had to have a mammogram if she didn't want one. Who am I to tell her what she can and can't do with her body.After all is said and done I am the one that has to live with my decision. even if it may be a bad one. It only harms me. Anyway I agree Ken.
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    • Posted

      If you don't want one you don't have to have it done.  It is your body and just say no.  Take care.  I was on a antibiotis for a month in december.  Had a prostate infection.  Take care  Ken
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    • Posted

      Thanks Ken. I have CDIFF so I have to be careful when on the antibiotics. If it gets bad enough I could end up in the hospital. Just a little worried. I found out my urologist doesn't check for fungal infection. It makes me wonder how many cases of Chronic Prostatitis are being overlooked due to fungus.
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    • Posted

      That is just not true, some PC is slow growing, others are very agressive especially in men of color. During the first five years, there is about 100 percent survival rate, but after this it tapers off depending on the Gleason score, margins, and stage. Regarding hormone therapy it is mainly given to men with systemic PC to reduce the PSA and stop the spread of the cancer. At this stage of the game the goal is to keep the patient alive. The end game of advanced PC is death. There is no cure! So we use all the tools to keep it from moving to this level. If PC is out of the pocket then testosterone may very well feed it. By the way, it is not where the cancer is located in the prostate that makes it slow growing, it's the Gleason score. If you have a Gleason score of 6 you may not have to do anything but monitor your PSA, but if it's 7 and above you will need treatment. After surgery the PSA has to be monitored for life. Good luck. 
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