Doctors know that testosterone promotes the growth of prostate cells and that blocking this naturally occurring hormone can help control the growth of prostate cancer. But there is great controversy over whether using testosterone supplements increases a man’s risk for prostate cancer.
Many doctors have long thought that boosting testosterone levels could fuel the growth of prostate cancer, though some recent research has cast doubt on that idea-at least for men with a condition known as hypogonadism (low levels of testosterone). One study published in BJU International in 2017 involved 999 men with hypogonadism (average age, 59), 75 percent of whom had used testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The investigators found that TRT did not increase the men’s risk for prostate cancer. An important caveat: This study did not include any men with a history of prostate cancer.
In recent years, heavy marketing has led some men without low testosterone to use testosterone supplements in hopes of restoring lost strength and vitality. However, treatment is only recommended for men diagnosed with hypogonadism. If you don’t have hypogonadism, eating right and exercising are the recommended ways to build strength and vigor. And until more is known about the risks for men with prostate cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises those with or suspected of having it to avoid testosterone products.