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Hormone therapy linked to periodontal disease

AK - Mar, 2007

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine have found that men receiving hormone therapy for prostate cancer are much more likely to show gum disease than men who do not receive hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

Men face a dizzying array of prostate cancer treatment options: radiation treatment procedure, seed radiation (prostate brachytherapy radiation), freezing (cryotherapy), conventional open prostate cancer surgery (radical prostatectomy), minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic radical prostatectomy), and, in advanced stages, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. At every stage, patients must answer a list of common questions ranging from what is a prostate to which is the best treatment for prostate cancer. Among the critical elements of their decision is evaluation of the experiences relayed in other prostate surgery patient stories.

In recent years, great strides have been made in prostate cancer treatments, especially for localized prostate cancer. However, men with advanced prostate cancer still face a complicated set of treatment decisions largely because treatments for advanced prostate cancer have remained only partly effective and associated with serious side effects.

Hormone treatment of prostate cancer can reduce pain from metastatic prostate cancer. However, especially since the introduction of PSA prostate-specific antigen testing, hormone treatment for prostate cancer has been applied also for men without metastatic prostate cancer, which means it has been in use for very long periods. Consequently, doctors are now seeing the long-term complications of prolonged hormone treatment of prostate cancer.

In this month's issue of the Journal of Urology, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine report that prostate cancer patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy are three times as likely to show signs of periodontal, or gum disease, as patients who do not receive the therapy.

Says Arnon Krongrad, MD, founder of the Krongrad Institute for laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery and medical advisor to the American Prostate Cancer Initiative: “Advanced prostate cancer is highly problematic and ours tools are limited. As patients consider hormone treatment, they should carefully weigh the potential for side effects. The list is long and includes fatigue, hot flashes, bone loss, and mood changes. The information about periodontal disease is news and, while it needs confirmation, suggests yet one more reason to tread lightly with hormone treatment of prostate cancer. Men need to be aware of prostate cancer generally and the potential ill effects of hormone treatment specifically.”

what hormone therapy for prostate cancer may do.