Prostate Problem Guide
Could A Common Hair Loss Drug Be Masking The Presence Of Prostate Cancer?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), more commonly referred to simply as an enlarged prostate gland, and prostate cancer typically start to appear in men in their forties and fifties, with instances increasing with age, and one frequently used method of detecting the presence of a prostate problem is a simple blood test know as the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
The prostate produces a specific hormonal protein, the presence of which is detectable in the bloodstream through the PSA test, and with a healthy prostate gland the level of this protein is quite low. Both an enlarged prostate gland and prostate cancer will however result in increased levels of PSA alerting doctors to the presence of a problem and indicating the need for further investigation and possibly treatment.
One commonly used treatment for an enlarged prostate gland is that of the administration of a drug called Finasteride which targets an enzyme within the prostate gland which is key to the growth of the gland.
Prostate problems, although common in men in their forties, fifties and beyond, are not the only problems seen in men of this age and another common problem is that of male pattern baldness. Many years ago men simply accepted hair loss as part of the ageing process but now a growing number of men are choosing to address the problem of hair loss, either through the use of various hair tonics and restorers, drug therapy or even surgery.
A commonly used hair loss drug is Propecia, which is currently being used by more than one million American men, and unfortunately the use of this hair loss drug is masking the fact that some of these men are also be developing an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. The problem is quite simply that Propecia contains Finasteride.
In a recently conducted study a group of over 350 men in their forties and fifties with male pattern baldness were given either Propecia or a placebo and their PSA levels were monitored. The results of the study showed that PSA levels fell by as much as 40% for men in their forties and 50% for men in their fifties when they were given Propecia and that they rose by an average of 13% for those men given the placebo.
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second highest cause of cancer deaths in the United States today and the importance of regular prostate screening for men in their forties and fifties in clear to see. When you attend for screening however, if you are using any form of medication including everyday over-the-counter medicines or even seemingly harmless dietary supplements, then it is vital that tell your doctor.
You may feel that the fact that you are taking Propecia for hair loss has nothing to do with your prostate cancer screening but, without knowing this, your doctor might well give you the all clear for prostate cancer when in reality the signs are there but are merely being masked by your treatment for hair loss.