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How Safe is Long Term Testosterone Replacement Therapy Use?


For as long as testosterone replacement therapy has been used to treat men suffering from low testosterone, or ‘Low T’, there have been skeptics arguing that it increases the risk of prostate cancer. Recent research from The Journal of Urology of the American Urological Association, suggests otherwise. Experts say if testosterone therapy is prescribed under proper guidelines, it is safe and doesn’t increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Men diagnosed with ‘Low T’ do not produce enough testosterone, leading to problems such as low sex drive, muscle weakness, erectile dysfunction, infertility, and even brittle bones. Typical testosterone replacement therapy includes shots, patches or gel worn on the skin, and tablets or pills.

The new study examined three parallel groups together totaling more than 1,000 men in order to establish the safety of testosterone therapy. Patients undergoing treatment were tracked over the course of 17 years, with follow-up approximately every five years. Two groups of men were treated by urologists, and the third group was treated at an academic andrology center (dedicated solely to the diseases and conditions specific to men).

The men were diagnosed with hypogonadism if their testosterone levels were low (≤12 nmol/L) and if other factors existed including erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, or unhealthy weight proportions, especially around the waist. If they had no other medical issues, the men were all started on the same testosterone therapy.

The reports of prostate cancer in the more than 1,000 men were low in comparison to similar cancer studies.

The encouraging take-away from these findings is that there is little to no chance of prostate cancer occurring as a result of long-term testosterone therapy if treatment is managed properly.

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