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Prostate cancer treatment may increase Alzheimer's risk

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, androgen deprivation therapy, or ADT, increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in prostate cancer patients. The therapy is one of the top methods used to treat prostate cancer in New York and across the United States.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University, examined the medical histories of nearly 17,000 prostate cancer patients treated at New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital and Stanford University health care facilities. Of the patients studied, 2,397 were given ADT treatments. When compared to a control group who did not receive such treatments, ADT patients were 1.88 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease over an average of 2.7 years after their treatment ended. Men who were given ADT treatments for more than a year were 2.12 times as likely as the control group to receive an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

ADT lowers testosterone and other androgens in prostate cancer patients, which slows the growth of tumors. The treatment has been used since the 1940s, and approximately 500,000 American men are currently receiving the therapy. The authors of the study stated that they do not know exactly why ADT increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, but stressed that any increase is significant to older patients. They recommend doctors carefully consider their findings when evaluating possible treatments for their prostate cancer patients.

People who have been harmed by a medical treatment may wish to discuss their legal options with an attorney. If the case is strong, legal counsel may advise filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a negligent hospital or physician, seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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