Drug May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer
New Guidelines for Healthy Men to Talk to Their Doctors About Taking Proscar
WebMD News Archive
Key Recommendations continued...
The discussion is likely to be complicated. Among the factors to
- When the findings from PCPT first came out, use of Proscar appeared to be
associated with an increased risk of developing high-grade tumors, which are
more likely to spread. A more thorough look at all the evidence now suggests
"that the increase in high-grade cancers among men on Proscar was most
likely an artifact," Kramer tells WebMD. Still, uncertainty exists.
- The therapy could prove costly and it is unclear whether insurance
companies will pay. According to Kramer, "you would have to treat 71
healthy men for about seven years to prevent one case of prostate
- Prostate cancers are so slow-growing that many cancers prevented by the use
of 5-ARIs may never cause harm in the first place.
- It is still not known whether taking a 5-ARI will reduce the risk of dying
from prostate cancer or extend life expectancy.
- There are possible, though typically reversible, side effects associated
with the use of 5-ARIs. They include an increased risk of erectile dysfunction
and a decrease in libido and ejaculation volume.
- The use of 5-ARIs carries certain benefits, chiefly a decreased risk of
lower urinary tract symptoms such as having trouble urinating.
Howard M. Sandler, MD, a prostate cancer specialist at Cedars-Sinai Medical
Center in Los Angeles, says that he would consider taking a 5-ARI for prostate
cancer prevention on a trial basis.
"If I tried it for a month or two and developed side effects, it would
probably not be worth taking. But if I had no side effects, I probably would
take it. It might help me sleep better at night," he tells WebMD.
The guidelines will be published in the March issue of the Journal of
Clinical Oncology and the March issue of The Journal of Urology.