March 16, 2009 -- Question: What are the concerns related to heart attacks when receiving hormone therapy?
Answer: Among the most striking and early changes that accompany treatment with hormone therapy in men with prostate cancer are alterations in their body composition. Men tend to lose muscle and gain fat. And while this is much more than just a cosmetic effect -- effecting the man's appearance -- there are also associated metabolic chances.
So along with this accumulation of fat comes greater insulin resistance, a condition associated with diabetes, increase in cholesterol and a variety of other metabolic changes that would predict a greater risk for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And research in recent years has shown that androgen depravation therapy, or hormone therapy for prostate cancer, increases the risk of developing diabetes as well as greater risk for heart attacks or cardiovascular disease.
Because of the dramatic changes in patterns of care, men are living longer with their prostate cancer and we really need to pay close attention to these other medical issues which remain the major cause of death in American men.