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Prostate Cancer Treatment Raises the Risk of Dementia in Seniors

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At Naples Home Care Assistance, we are committed to providing seniors and their families with the highest level of care, which includes sharing news about updates related to senior health. Recent research studies have linked ADT, a common treatment for prostate cancer, to an increased risk of dementia. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you might want to discuss the information given here with his or her doctor.

Androgen Deprivation Therapy

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been used to treat prostate cancer in men since the 1940s. ADT treats prostate cancer by reducing levels of testosterone and other androgens that cause certain prostate tumors to grow. An estimated 500,000 men in the U.S. are currently being treated with ADT.

Link Between ADT and Dementia

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and the Stanford School of Medicine looked at the medical records of 10,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of those who were treated with ADT, 7.9 percent were diagnosed with dementia within 5 years. The likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia dropped to 3.5 percent in the men who did not receive ADT. A British study published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggested active monitoring of the tumor might be as effective as radical treatment of prostate cancer.

Weighing the Benefits of ADT Against the Risks

While the number of individuals who develop dementia from ADT therapy is relatively small, researchers say it is a very real risk. When deciding on a plan for prostate cancer treatment, the benefits of receiving ADT must be weighed against potential risks as well as the feasibility of other treatment options. Depending on individual risk factors and possible vulnerability to dementia, doctors may want to consider alternative treatments in some men. 

Advice for Seniors Receiving ADT

While ADT appears to increase the risk of all types of dementia, the study results are not definitive enough to warrant changing clinical care for most men with prostate cancer. Researchers are cautioning men with prostate cancer to not stop or change their medications without talking to their oncologist. They hope more studies, including prospective, randomized clinical trials, will help identify the exact nature of the link between ADT and dementia and detect who might be the most vulnerable.

For more information on prostate cancer, dementia, and other conditions affecting seniors, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our professional caregivers can drive your loved one to and from medical appointments and assist with other tasks of daily living. In addition to hourly and live-in care, we offer specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Naples, FL, families can count on. Call a qualified Client Care Manager today at (239) 449-4701 to schedule a free in-home consultation.