Prostate cancer is one of the most rampant and feared illnesses in men. Doctors and scientists continue conducting researches up to this day for further analysis on its causes in order to find its cure. The hormone replacement therapy for men or HRT has somehow been linked to prostate cancer because of previous medical researches around this disease.

HRT has been a prevalent treatment for low testosterone in men. One of the most commonly cited side effects of HRT is increased risk of prostate cancer. In fact, according to some recent research, low testosterone is actually a risk factor for many types of cancer among men.

Theory Explained

The theory that testosterone replacement increases the risk of prostate cancer can be traced back from a research done by a group led by urologist Charles Huggins in the 1940s at the University of Chicago. Based on their experiments performed first on dogs and then on humans, the group came up with a conclusion that prostate cancer was androgen dependent. According to the study, the cancer worsened when testosterone levels were high, but the cancer shrank when the levels were lowered.

Huggins’ theory led to surgical castration, which is the removal of the testicles. This procedure has become the standard treatment for prostate cancer since then. The research of Huggins’ led scientists and doctors to believe for many years that testosterone levels and prostate cancer occurrence are connected. However, the experiments did not test nor prove this in any way. The experiments were also only limited to small numbers of test subjects, so this was not enough to prove the fact.

This is the reason why most, if not all, medical professionals have become skeptical of hormone replacement therapy for men. Most people then fear that getting this treatment could lead to the development of prostate cancer. Many people do not of for HRT despite its benefits.

 

Recent Researches

In the recent years, more researches are done. Many studies showed that men with low testosterone tend to develop prostate cancer at a higher rate than the average. Other studies also proved that testosterone only caused progression of prostate cancer in men who had been castrated, but this is not the case in men who still produced testosterone naturally. Because of these studies, the association between testosterone and prostate cancer had been re-examined.

Eventually, the medical community began to change its belief and started to embrace hormone replacement therapy for men. New evidences showed that there is no relationship between increased testosterone levels and prostate cancer. Recent studies showed that increasing the levels of testosterone in men who has already prostate cancer caused no further progression of the disease. Furthermore, these recent studies proved that men with lower level of testosterone are actually more at risk of developing prostate cancer than men with higher testosterone.

 

Conclusion

With evidences abundant, it has now become clear that the relationship between testosterone and prostate cancer was simply a misunderstanding for most of the 20th century. It is also clear that HRT, as a way of supplementing low testosterone levels in men, will not cause or progress the prostate cancer.