March 16, 2009 -- Question: What are the concerns related to osteoporosis when receiving hormone therapy?
Answer: Historically, osteoporosis has been thought of as a problem distinct only to older women, to postmenopausal women. But it's now very clear that osteoporosis is a common and important problem in aging men as well.
The major causes of acquired osteoporosis in men include hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels. And because the intended affect of hormone therapy for prostate cancer is to dramatically lower testosterone it's not surprising to learn that hormone therapy for prostate cancer increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.
A really rich body of data over the past 10 years has clearly demonstrated that hormone therapy for prostate cancer increases fracture risk. And so we now recommend that men undergoing long term treatment with hormone therapy receive careful screening for osteoporosis and for men who are at high risk for fracture, undergo further treatment.