Men's health

Male cancer survivors may need extra testosterone

Zone default image Deficiency caused by treatment

A new study has found that many male cancer survivors may have reduced levels of testosterone caused by their chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment.

This can lead to an impaired quality of life and reduced energy levels, said UK researchers.

Testosterone deficiency is a late side effect of radiation therapy and chemotherapy that occurs in approximately 15% of male cancer survivors.

A team led by Professor Richard Ross from the University of Sheffield investigated the relationship between testosterone levels, quality of life, self-esteem, fatigue and sexual function in 176 young male cancer survivors compared with 213 young men without cancer.

Young men who survived cancer said they experienced a marked impairment in quality of life, as well as reduced energy levels and quality of sexual function.

These experiences were exacerbated in survivors with testosterone deficiency.

The results are published in the journal Cancer.

Professor Ross commented: "This is an important study demonstrating that low testosterone levels are common in male cancer survivors and associated with an impaired quality of life.

"We now need interventional trials with testosterone to determine which young male cancer survivors will benefit from replacement therapy."

This article was published on Mon 22 February 2010

Image © Andrey Ushakov -

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