What you need to know about prostate cancer and testosterone
The topic of prostate cancer and testosterone is rather complex to cover, and there are diverging opinions in this particular. On one side, testosterone has been recognized to contribute to prostate cancer by promoting cell growth and multiplication in the prostatic tissue. On the other hand, senior patients may have very low levels of testosterone and require testosterone replacement therapy, and fixing low testosterone levels prevents prostate cancer instead of making it worse.
The apparent contradiction can be explained easily by taking a look at testosterone concentrations in the blood and the prostatic tissue after giving patients exogenous testosterone. Serum levels of testosterone will increase, but intraprostatic levels of testosterone remain almost the same. Thus, the prostate has an androgenic environment of its own, and patients with aggressive prostate cancer and high intraprostatic testosterone levels are likely creating an androgenic environment to synthesize androgens on their own.
Studies show that fixing low testosterone levels in younger patients help them reduce their risk of prostate cancer years later. However, this does not mean that testosterone is harmless and we can use testosterone replacement therapy in every patient with prostate cancer.
On the contrary, part of the medical treatment of prostate cancer might include androgen deprivation drugs especially made to block testosterone in the prostatic tissue. Testosterone can only be administered to patients who have never received this type of medication because when they do, prostate cancer cells create more testosterone receptors and the smallest of changes in testosterone levels may trigger accelerated prostate growth.
Thus, as you can see in this particular, testosterone and prostate health is a complex topic that should be evaluated with each patient. What we need to know is that high blood levels of testosterone will not affect prostate cancer risk, low levels are likely to increase the risk, and giving patients an early treatment to achieve healthy levels of testosterone is not associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer. On the contrary, several studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy in these patients will significantly reduce the risk.