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December 2008

By William Faloon

William Faloon 
William Faloon
Low Testosterone Increases Prostate Cancer Risk

When we first recommended that aging men restore their testosterone to youthful levels, a firestorm of criticism erupted.

The medical establishment proclaimed that by interfering with the natural decline in testosterone secretion, that men risked all kinds of terrible fates. When Life Extension members asked their doctors for testosterone prescriptions, they ran into objections such as, “I don’t prescribe steroids,” “testosterone causes heart attacks,” and “testosterone causes prostate cancer.”

We countered these criticisms with hundreds of scientific citations showing that testosterone deficiency is an underlying cause of age-related disease. We also demonstrated that none of the paranoid fears about natural testosterone had ever been substantiated.

To this day, a huge number of doctors view testosterone as if it were a narcotic. Other physicians admit they don’t know how to prescribe testosterone to their patients. All of that is about to change.

Harvard Medical School

A new book authored by the “experts at Harvard Medical School” should bury once and for all the biased and ignorant misconceptions about natural testosterone restoration therapy.

Testosterone for Life (McGraw-Hill; 2008) is an exceptionally well-written book that validates what we long ago published about the safety, testing, method of delivery, and multiple benefits of testosterone.

While this information has been widely circulated in the anti-aging community, the fact that it has been so eloquently compiled by the “experts at Harvard Medical School” should forever dispel the myths that have misled mainstream doctors for decades.

Testosterone for Life reminds the reader of what the medical community erroneously thought, and then presents the scientific truths in such a way that it is difficult to imagine anyone regurgitating these fallacies again. The author freely admits his own mistaken beliefs about testosterone that were based on the medical establishment’s flawed dogma, and then describes how he uncovered the real facts.

Low Testosterone Increases Prostate Cancer Risk

Testosterone for Life

Fear of prostate cancer is the leading reason why aging men have shied away from restoring their free testosterone to youthful ranges. To dispel this concern, Life Extension long ago analyzed every published study and found there is no basis for asserting that testosterone causes prostate cancer.1-6

Our observations from the thousands of blood tests we perform each year for members confirmed this. What we found is that men with low testosterone appear to be more likely to contract prostate cancer.

In Testosterone for Life, the misleading notion about testosterone causing prostate cancer is exposed in better detail than I have ever seen. You don’t have to buy the book to read this information. The publisher allowed us to excerpt the entire chapter that you can read in this month’s issue. "Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer."

What will come as a bombshell to the medical establishment is the compilation of scientific facts presented in this chapter showing that men with low testosterone levels have an increased percentage of prostate cancer-positive biopsies.4,7,8 This means that physicians who refused to prescribe testosterone to their aging male patients may have unwittingly contributed to today’s prostate cancer epidemic.

Testosterone May Safely Be Used in Those Who Have Had Prostate Cancer

Another revealing chapter in Testosterone for Life exposes the erroneous belief that men who have ever had prostate cancer, or are at high risk for prostate cancer, can never use testosterone.9

The prevailing dogma is that raising the concentration of testosterone is to prostate cancer like pouring gasoline onto a fire. While there are certain stages of prostate cancer where this can happen, it turns out that prostate cancer cells can thrive on relatively low concentrations of testosterone.4,7 That is why when testosterone deprivation is properly prescribed as a treatment for existing prostate cancer, the objective is to reduce testosterone to very low levels (less than 20 ng/dL of blood). That often means shutting down testosterone production from both the testes and the adrenal glands.

Life Extension still cautions that most men with prostate cancer should avoid testosterone therapy until the disease is completely eradicated. Any man (whether or not he has ever had prostate cancer) who initiates testosterone therapy and then experiences an increase in PSA should discontinue testosterone and undergo diagnostic tests to assess if prostate cancer is present. Testosterone is a stress test for latent prostate cancer and if the PSA rises in response to testosterone replacement therapy, then prostate cancer has been identified and testosterone should be stopped.

Testosterone for Life cites published studies and case reports of men with existing prostate cancer who restored their testosterone levels and experienced a reduction in clinical markers and symptoms of their disease. While we at Life Extension believe that most men with active prostate cancers should not increase their testosterone levels until their disease is brought under control, the information presented in this new book calls into question some of our previous concerns.

The major emphasis in the chapter “Treating Men Who Have a History of Prostate Cancer” is that once prostate cancer is believed to be cured, there is no reason for an aging man to suffer from a testosterone deficiency. This chapter, perhaps more than any other in this book, will turn conventional assumptions about testosterone and prostate cancer upside down.

I suggest that anyone who has had prostate cancer and now wants to restore their testosterone levels should read this chapter in Testosterone for Life. We were not able to excerpt this chapter, so one should obtain the book in order to read it.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Testosterone for Life heavily emphasizes the quality-of-life improvements that occur in most men who restore their testosterone to youthful ranges. Common symptoms described in men with low testosterone are:

  • Sexual problems such as decreased desire, erectile dysfunction, difficulty achieving orgasm, and reduced intensity of orgasm

  • Low energy and increased fatigue

  • Loss of motivation

  • Depressed mood

  • Loss of sense of well-being and vigor.

In case after case, when low testosterone is corrected, men report improvements in some or all of the above symptoms. It is interesting to note that these symptoms of low testosterone are analogous to what one would expect with normal aging.

A Generation Who Lost Their Quality of Life

Testosterone for Life discusses the many published studies showing that men with higher testosterone levels live longer and have lower rates of diabetes and heart attacks.

The emphasis of the book, however, is on the enormous quality-of-life improvements observed in men prescribed testosterone. These improvements include increased sexual desire, performance, and fulfillment, along with marked enhancements in energy and sense of well-being. These remarkable case histories, presented in meticulous detail, should ignite a stampede of aging men seeking to have their doctors prescribe them testosterone creams.

While Testosterone for Life relates many histories of men suffering common age-related afflictions who then regain their youthful vigor, the author dutifully discusses why some men do not respond to testosterone, such as being prescribed drugs that destroy libido and erection capability.

When reading Testosterone for Life, one cannot help but sympathize about an entire generation of aging men robbed of their youth because the medical establishment, federal government, and the media ignored scientific reality. We should also remember the anti-aging doctors who were persecuted and sometimes imprisoned for prescribing testosterone to their patients. The only crime these doctors committed was being ahead of their time.

Signs of Low Testosterone

“Symptoms” are something a person experiences, whereas “signs” are something that can be measured, like weight or blood pressure. Testosterone for Life describes common signs of low testosterone such as:

  • Loss of muscle mass and strength

  • Accumulation of belly fat

  • Low bone density

  • Anemia

  • Increased incidence of type 2 diabetes.

These signs of low testosterone are common characteristics of normal aging. Testosterone for Life confirms how most men demonstrate improvements in these pathologic signs when testosterone levels are restored.