U. SHEFFIELD (UK)—Male cancer survivors who develop testosterone deficiency often report having impaired quality of life and reduced energy levels, indicating replacement therapy may benefit some patients.
The study was published online in the journal Cancer.
Testosterone deficiency is a late side effect of radiation therapy and chemotherapy that occurs in approximately 15 percent of male cancer survivors.
Richard Ross, professor at the University of Sheffield, examined 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.
The cancer survivors 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 young male cancer survivors also appeared less strong, vital, physically fit, and energetic and had suboptimal sexual function compared with those without cancer.
However the researchers also found psychological distress in male cancer survivors was not elevated, self-esteem was normal, and sexual relationships were not impaired.
“This is an important study demonstrating that low testosterone levels are common in male cancer survivors and associated with an impaired quality of life,” Ross says.
“However, the relationship between testosterone levels and quality of life is complex and appears to depend on a threshold level rather than on a direct correlation.
“We now need interventional trials with testosterone to determine which young male cancer survivors will benefit from replacement therapy.”
The study was funded by the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
University of Sheffield news: www.shef.ac.uk/mediacentre/index.html