Hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer increases the likelihood of depression

Hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer increases the likelihood of depression

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Study Finds Testosterone Suppression Treatment Has Negative Side Effects
Hormone therapy is usually used to treat prostate cancer. Scientists have now found that such treatment also increases the likelihood of developing depression.

Researchers from Brigham and Womens Hospital (BWH) found in an investigation that hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer can have serious consequences for our health. This type of treatment increases the likelihood of developing depression. The researchers published the results of their study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study examines 78,000 people with previous prostate cancer for depression
For their investigation, the scientists analyzed the data from more than 78,000 people in the United States. They had undergone treatment for early prostate cancer. In doing so, they discovered that about seven percent of patients who had undergone testosterone therapy would develop clinical depression within the next few years. The researchers added that only about five percent of those who had not undergone such treatment developed depression.

Researchers find link between hormone treatment and mental state
The results do not provide 100 percent evidence that hormone therapy is responsible for people developing depression. But the evidence available is sufficient to suggest this, explains Dr. Paul Nguyen from the BWH. The study considered patients' likelihood that factors such as age, level of education, and the severity of prostate disease affect the risk of developing clinical depression, the researchers say. The study found that there appears to be a link between hormone treatment and mental health. The risk of depression seems to increase as the longer they take testosterone suppression, Dr. added Nguyen added.

The longer the treatment, the higher the risk of developing depression
About six percent of patients who received hormone therapy for six months developed depression over the next three years. If subjects had participated in this type of therapy for at least one year, the value rose to eight percent, explains Dr. Nguyen. The new study discovered several side effects associated with hormone treatment. However, some sufferers still see the therapy as a potential lifesaver, especially if they have been diagnosed with a serious illness, adds Dr. Nguyen added. Further study is now needed to better understand the effects of hormone treatments. (as)

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