Your Urologist Des Moines reports that prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men. In fact, one in six will be diagnosed with the disease in the course of their lifetime. But now, a new study has shown that a popular drug, used to treat baldness, can reduce the risk of low-grade, less-aggressive prostate cancer by over 40 percent.
The study – which started in the mid 1990’s – followed almost 19,000 middle-aged men. And over the course of seven years, half of the men involved in the study took a drug called Propecia, which is better known for the treatment of baldness, though it’s also prescribed under other names to treat enlargement of the prostate.
The other half of the men involved in the study were given a placebo. After 18 years passed, researchers found that men taking the drug had a 30 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than men taking the placebo. The Propecia takers also experienced a 43 percent lower risk of developing slower growing, low-grade cancers.
Men on Propecia had a slightly higher risk (than the men taking the placebo) of developing higher-grade, aggressive prostate cancer, but no greater risk of dying from it. The 15+ year survival rates of men in both groups (whether they developed cancer or not, were the same) as were the 10+ year survival rates of men in both groups diagnosed with prostate cancer.
On another note, it has also been shown that a little more than 1 percent of men taking Propecia have experienced erectile dysfunction from the drug.
Even if it doesn’t catch the most aggressive cancers, Propecia could save men through the diagnosis and treatment of less aggressive tumors. The widespread use of PSA testing to screen for prostate cancer has led to more frequent detection of low-grade tumors that are unlikely to be fatal, even if ignored.
Treating them with surgery and radiation can have unpleasant sexual and urinary side effects – and even watchful waiting can be expensive and stressful. The bottom line is that Propecia won’t save lives, but it will make the living of lives much higher in quality.
If you want to know more about the use of Propecia to battle prostate cancer, call your urologist Des Moines today to schedule a consultation.