Warning Sign: Testosterone Levels Can Predict Aggressive Prostate Cancer.

With a prominent role in determining impressive attributes like strength, stamina, muscle mass and sexual performance, it’s no surprise that the many life enhancing benefits of high testosterone tend to steal the headlines.

Often overlooked as a result of those however are the increasing number of potentially lifesaving advantages of robust male hormone levels.

Already strongly implicated in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, an Italian study now indicates that, in men suffering with prostate cancer, testosterone quantities are able to predict how aggressive the cancer will be.

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the U.K, is second only to skin cancer in the U.S and can have a mortality rate as high as 1 in 4. Sufferers often undergo surgery to remove the prostate in the hope of eliminating the danger, but even a prostatectomy can’t always prevent relapse.

Aggressiveness of the condition is currently rated on the Gleason scale from 1 to 5, with 5 signifying the most rampant cancer cells and worst survival rates.

Now however, researchers have been able to demonstrate that hypogonadism (clinically low testosterone), determined by a routine blood test, is a reliable preoperative judge of grade 5 prostate cancer on the Gleason scale.

Dr Marco Moschini of San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, led the team which correlated hormone levels and Gleeson scores in 1,017 patients who had undergone radical prostatectomy surgery.

Of this sample 118 presented with a score of 5 on the Gleason scale and after adjusting for the age of patients, a consistent link was able to be made to both testosterone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (a protein which renders testosterone effectively unusable) levels.

Dr Moschini said:

“We found that hypogonadism, and the levels of SHBG, were able to predict whether or not patients had Gleason factor 5, which is the worst Gleason score. This association will allow us to predict what the outcome will be before we decide to treat a patient with surgery. Potentially this can be helpful to identify patients with the most aggressive prostate cancer before surgery.”

Although he stopped short of declaring a definite link between low testosterone and severe prostate cancer, Moschini did call for in-depth investigation into the possibility.

“There is an urgent need for new research to uncover the role which hormones play in prostate cancer development,”

he said.

“What we don’t yet know is if this is an association, or if hypogonadism in some way increases the risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer. If this is the case, then it may be that treating the hypogonadism can lessen this risk, but we need more work before we can be sure of that”.

There may not be a conclusive connection established between low testosterone and prostate cancer just yet, but research like this often prompts further studies. It is also not clear where the cause and effect is – does grade 5 aggressive prostate cancer cause low test, or is it the other way around?

There are certainly enough health pluses already associated with keeping your male hormone levels up that it is undoubtedly worth striving to raise all of ours just to be on the safe side.

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