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ADT: Does This Treatment Increase the Risk of Dementia

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a treatment commonly used for men with prostate cancer, may have some significant side effects, the most concerning being an increased risk of dementia. Westport dementia care professionals examine ADT and its possible effects on the development of dementia.

How ADT Increases the Risk of Dementia

Prostate tumors feed off of a number of key male hormones, including androgens, which is why ADT has become an extremely common treatment option for men who have larger tumors that can no longer be completely cured with surgery or radiation. Though ADT is effective for many men, altering an individual’s hormones can have a major impact on his or her mental health and potentially increase the risk of developing dementia. 

The True Risk of ADT

ADT has been used on people with cancer for nearly 80 years, but researchers did not understand some of the severe side effects of this treatment until recently. A 2015 study carried out by the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine found men who undergo ADT are twice as likely to develop dementia within 5 years. These results have sparked a number of additional studies being carried out in countries throughout the world. 

Hormones and Cognitive Decline

When addressing an aggressive form of testicular cancer, the potential benefits of invasive treatments such as ADT generally outweigh the risks. Before choosing a specific treatment, seniors must work closely alongside their oncologists to determine what risks they are willing to face in the future. Though the need to treat prostate cancer might supersede most other concerns, this is a very personal decision for seniors and their loved ones. 

Just as with most other serious diseases, catching prostate cancer in its earliest stages is vital. Men who are regularly screened for cancerous cells might be able to avoid ADT entirely with a combination of surgery and radiation therapy. Older men should be screened for prostate cancer at least once every few years starting at the age of 50.

To learn more about the risks of developing dementia and how your senior loved one can reduce those risks, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are experts in dementia care and can provide mental stimulation and help with a wide array of daily tasks. For more information on the elderly care Westport seniors count on, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 203-955-1915 to schedule a free in-home consultation.