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Does ADT Increase the Risk of Developing Dementia?

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

For many years, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been a common treatment for prostate cancer. However, like many treatments for serious diseases, ADT comes with a few side effects, the most alarming being an increased risk for developing dementia. The Allentown dementia home care professionals at Home Care Assistance examine ADT and dementia and the possible connections between the two.

What You Need to Know About ADT

ADT is one of the most common treatment options for late-stage testicular cancer. Though tumors can often be removed or destroyed with radiation when they are smaller, many oncologists attempt to neutralize them with ADT once they have grown. When receiving ADT, seniors are given shots, pills, or a gel to suppress the production of male hormones and “starve” the cancerous cells. 

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is a chronic mental disorder that can be caused by a wide variety of internal and external factors. Any medical conditions or acute injuries that destroy brain cells can either cause dementia directly or increase the risk of developing it. This includes medical treatments like ADT that have a dramatic impact on natural hormones. There is currently no cure for dementia, but doctors are often able to slow the progression of this disease for many years when it is diagnosed early. 

The Connection Between ADT and Dementia-Related Disorders

Multiple studies from two different universities have revealed a very close relationship between ADT and dementia. According to these long-term studies, seniors who took testosterone-lowering drugs for their testicular cancer were twice as likely to develop dementia as those who underwent different treatments. Though further research is needed on this unusual connection, it is clear hormones and hormone-altering medications play a major role in dementia development. 

Should My Loved One Continue With ADT?

Seniors and their doctors should not make a decision until they have fully explored all of their options and taken a closer look at the senior’s risk of developing dementia. In most cases, seniors who have been diagnosed with late-stage cancer should continue with aggressive treatments such as ADT. Once researchers have learned more about ADT and its links with dementia, doctors can then make better decisions regarding alternative treatments for testicular cancer.

If you’d like additional information on the risks of dementia and tips on helping your senior loved one reduce those risks, reach out to Allentown Home Care Assistance. We specialize in dementia care, and our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide mental stimulation and assist with important everyday tasks. For more information on the elder care Allentown families trust, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 484-350-3874 to schedule a free in-home consultation.