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Alzheimer’s risks may increase with prostate cancer treatment

Dec 11, 2015 | Doctor Errors

In dealing with cancer, a New York health care practitioner may find that some treatments involve certain risk factors. This means that it is important to work with a patient to find the right balance between treatment and risk. In the case of treating prostate cancer, for example, a primary approach to addressing the disease involves androgen deprivation therapy due to the role that testosterone can have in causing tumors to grow. A study, however, indicates that there may be a greater potential for a patient going through ADT to later be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The study indicates that there is an association between ADT and Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, researchers are not stating that the therapy for prostate cancer causes Alzheimer’s. However, the cases studied indicate that ADT patients were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over an average of less than three years of such treatment concluding. The patients studied who underwent ADT for more than one year had more than twice as many cases of Alzheimer’s diagnoses as those who did not undergo ADT. It is important to recognize that prior research already indicated that reduced testosterone levels correlated to an increased risk of cognitive impairments and Alzheimer’s.

The researchers emphasize that a single study is not enough to determine an exact level of risk for ADT patients. Additionally, they emphasize the difference between causation and association. However, this study along with high levels of Alzheimer’s diagnoses among elderly men demonstrate the importance of careful and informed decision making between health care professionals and their patients.

A family dealing with both Alzheimer’s and prostate cancer issues on the part of an elderly relative might wonder if doctor negligence may have played a role in either condition. Diagnoses alone would not necessarily imply medical malpractice. However, a lawyer might review medical records to identify examples of the failure of a medical professional to consider important risk factors or other information in treating a patient.