Prostate cancer survivors are more susceptible to diabetes and cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks, a recent study has revealed.
The findings were presented in the journal Circulation, following research led by Javid Moslehi, assistant professor of medicine and cardio-oncologist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The purpose of the investigation was to determine the primary mortality factors that can affect prostate cancer survivors across the nation.
It was soon established that the 3 million male patients who have successfully entered remission following a prostrate cancer diagnosis should be particularly wary of their elevated vulnerability to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
That’s because androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which is commonly employed in order to combat malignancies affecting the prostate, tends to negatively impact other functions of the body, with the patient being none the wiser at first.
While ADT has been proven effective in reducing the dimensions of prostate tumors and in decelerating the growth of these cancerous tissues, by significantly lowering the concentration of male hormones throughout the body, it can also have some unwelcome side effects.
More precisely, the anti-hormone therapy tends to increase the level of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) and also leads to an abnormally high level of triglycerides. In addition, ADT causes prostate cancer survivors to have an overly elevated fat mass, and a significantly reduced lean body mass.
Androgen suppression therapy also leads to heightened insulin resistance and hyperglycemia triggered by impaired glucose tolerance.
Because of the onset of these manifestations which are commonly associated with the metabolic syndrome, prostate cancer survivors are more prone to developing diabetes or to experiencing heart attacks or strokes, when compared to the general population.
Given these significant risks, study authors believe that greater emphasis should be placed on ensuring that the cardiovascular health and glucose levels of patients who have undergone androgen deprivation therapy are much more closely monitored.
Heart attacks and strokes are already the leading cause of death among male Americans, but prostate cancer survivors should be especially mindful of this vulnerability that emerges on the heels of anti-hormone therapy.
At the same time, patients in this category should not become despondent about this elevated susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, because there are still various lifestyle changes that could be introduced in order to curb this propensity.
The steps, known as the Vanderbilt ABCDE protocol, include the following: heightened Awareness and regular aspirin intake in order to prevent strokes or heart attacks; keeping a close watch on Blood pressure levels; maintaining Cholesterol levels within normal limits and quitting cigarettes; having a healthy and balanced Diet; and being physically active, by Exercising regularly.
Apparently, this set of recommendations will soon be added on the guidelines prepared by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, so that physicians and patients across the nation can fully harness the potential benefits of these life-saving, yet simple suggestions.
As study authors argue, as long as the algorithm is put into practice by prostate cancer survivors, and provided that prompt treatment is sought whenever cardiovascular or metabolic health indicators suffer noteworthy changes, any detrimental effects associated with androgen deprivation therapy will be greatly reduced, if not combated entirely.
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