prostateOne of the great complications of medical studies is that getting a good idea about the long term of effects of a drug or treatment takes, of course, many years. And so, while Alzheimer’s and cancer researchers have made major breakthroughs over the past decade or so, they are also learning that some of the best treatments can also lead to dire side effects.

And in terms of prostate cancer, a study says that a relatively popular treatment appears to be associated with a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study doesn’t definitively tell us that these drugs cause Alzheimer’s disease,” explains Dr. Otis Brawley, of the American Cancer Society. “I would say this study justifies a better study.”

This study looked at more than 16,000 men who were being treated for prostate cancer to determine that those who had received something called androgen deprivation therapy seemed to have roughly twice the risk for developing Alzheimer’s within the next 3 years over men receiving other treatments.

In addition, University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Kevin Nead comments, “We also observed a statistically significant increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease with increasing duration of ADT (androgen deprivation therapy).”

Brawley continues, “There’s a goodly proportion of men today that are taking this drug and should not be taking it. We know that these drugs are harmful and we know that these drugs are overused.”

At the end of the day, the National Cancer Institute indicates: “Whether hormone therapy prolongs the survival of men who have been newly diagnosed with advanced disease but do not yet have symptoms is not clear. Moreover, because hormone therapy can have substantial side effects, some men prefer not to take hormone therapy before symptoms develop.”

The results of this study have been published in the industry Journal of Clinical Oncology.