Researchers warn androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) that is used to treat prostate cancer could increase the risk of dementia.
Close to 100,414 men with prostate cancer, who were 66 years or older, were part of the study.The team noted that 37,911 of the participants has received ADT treatment within six months of being diagnosed with the medical condition. Upon analysis, the team found this type of treatment increased the risk of dementia by 22 per cent and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 29 per cent.
Despite the alarming findings, experts say such potential life-saving treatment like ADT should not be avoided due to a small risk. They believe this therapy cannot be ruled out to treat prostate cancer as the research is only preliminary and the link between the treatment and dementia has not yet been clearly identified.
Multiple studies investigating this link have come to different conclusions. Some have found an association between cognitive decline and hormone therapy while other studies have found no evidence of it. "You can find abstracts on both sides of the ledger," Dr Mack Roach, an oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer at the University of California San Francisco, told a news portal.
Some experts believe it may just be down to age when both prostate cancer and dementia symptoms start to become more common that is around 65-year-old. However, the findings do highlight the challenging and difficult choices older people have to make in terms of their health.
Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association told a news portal even though the new study does not “provide strong enough evidence, on its own, to change medical practice,” her organisation "strongly believes that all discussions about the potential benefits and risks of any treatment — including hormone therapy — should be had with a doctor. The decision should be made based on the patient’s unique health needs and circumstances." The study's findings were presented at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Recently, an international group of experts released new guidelines to follow in order to reduce the risk of dementia, as many cases are preventable. "In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple. We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, told a news portal. Adding, "The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time: that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain."