December 20, 2011 17:22 ET

Prostate Cancer News: Hormone Therapy Can Double Risk of Blood Clots

Dr. David Samadi, Robotic Surgery Expert, Shares Concern Over Major Risk of Blood Clots in Prostate Cancer Patients Undergoing Hormone Therapy

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Dec 20, 2011) - Recently published in the journal, Cancer, significant findings link blood clots to hormone-targeted prostate cancer therapy, also known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), in men over age 65. In a data analysis of 154,000 men with localized prostate cancer, researchers found a 56% increased risk of blood clots in men being treated with ADT versus those who were not. Prostate cancer and robotic surgery specialist, Dr. David Samadi is Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, and he believes this news should be of interest for patients and doctors.

Testosterone fuels the growth of prostate cancer cells and tumors. Hormone therapy, sometimes called chemical castration, suppresses the amount of testosterone reaching the tumor causing it to shrink or grow more slowly. Often hormone therapy is not used independently, but rather in preparation for radiation therapy. As such, a patient will receive the combined negative side effects from radiation and hormone therapy.

Dr. Samadi cautions that, "Regrettably, hormone therapy has known links to bone loss, hot flashes, impotence, increased risk for diabetes, fatigue and memory loss. Now add potentially fatal blood clots that unnecessarily compromises patient health risks, particularly when paired with radiation treatment."

Roughly 38% of the men whose cases were reviewed were undergoing ADT. Of those patients, 15% developed one or more blood clots over a four-year treatment period, more than double the 7% of non-ADT patients who developed clots.

Historically, ADT was used only in men with advanced prostate cancer who were not considered surgical prostatectomy candidates. "Doctors are increasingly using hormone therapy to treat men newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer," says Dr. Samadi. "That's very likely to include men under 65 who may be put in unnecessary jeopardy. Robotic prostatectomy surgery is a preferred treatment for localized prostate cancer because of the higher cancer cure rate and reduced health risks compared to radiation and hormone therapy."

As with all treatments, there can be risks associated with robotic surgery including short-term incontinence and impotence. "The difference is that we know the risks and we know how to mitigate them," says Dr. Samadi. "My SMART surgery provides incredible magnification of the surgical field and unmatched dexterity. Pairing those advancements with my traditional surgical experience I can remove the prostate with minimal impact on surrounding nerves." Dr. Samadi has performed over 3,600 successful robotic prostatectomy procedures using his SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) surgery.

"SMART surgery is quick and effective," stresses Dr. Samadi. "My minimally invasive procedure has men back on their feet in a matter of hours and back to their normal routine in days. Impacts on sexual function and urinary control can be short-term and are manageable. Most important, the cancer is permanently removed in 97% of the cases when patients are treated under my care with SMART surgery. I perform all SMART surgeries from beginning to end in my New York Urology practice."

While older men are at increased risk of developing blood clots, a doubled incidence of blood clots in ADT patients shows age is not the only issue. "Blood clots cause serious complications of their own including improper circulation, swelling and permanent vein damage. They can be fatal if the clot travels to the lungs, heart or brain," explains Dr. Samadi.

"Men in the midst of prostate cancer treatment with ADT, alone or in conjunction with radiation, should speak to their doctors about their risk of developing clots," urges Dr. Samadi. "I look forward to continued research on the clot risk in younger prostate cancer ADT patients. Until then, I urge men to consider robotic prostatectomy surgery and put prostate cancer behind them."

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