Although some studies in the past have indicated that taking erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs may reduce the likelihood of developing prostate cancer, new research published in The Journal of Urology® has found these drugs to not play a role in the prevention.
ED and Treatment
ED is a common issue. About 40% of men in their 40s report at least occasional problems getting and maintaining erections. So do more than half (52%) of men aged 40 to 70, and about 70% of men in their 70s.
To treat ED, many men turn to their urologist to guide them to a solution. Depending on your unique condition, your doctor may suggest different options, one of them being ED drugs such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. Though these are common names for some of the most common ED drugs, they all consist of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5is), which are what were studied in this research.
Using data from REDUCE, a four-year, multicenter study testing the effect of daily dutasteride to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia on prostate cancer risk in men, the authors of the study analyzed whether ED drug use by more than 6,500 patients may have affected overall prostate cancer risk and disease grade (Gleason 2-6 and 7-10).
Of the 6,501 men in the study, 364 used PDE-5i at baseline. During the study, prostate cancer was diagnosed in 71 of these men compared to 1,391 of the 6,137 men who did not take PDE-5i, which was not significantly different.
Prostate Cancer Testing
Ultimately, further studies with larger populations and longer follow-up are warranted to determine with more certainty if ED drugs play some part in prostate cancer prevention.
Until we find a cure for prostate cancer or how to prevent it, getting tested can save your live. If caught early, prostate cancer is 90-95% curable. How do we catch it? We use the PSA blood test as the gateway to information about a man’s risk for this disease.
The American Cancer Society recommends that prostate cancer testing should take place at the following ages:
Age 50: For men who are at average risk of prostate cancer
Age 45: For men at a high risk of developing prostate cancer (men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)
Age 40: For men at an even greater risk for developing prostate cancer (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age)
To schedule an appointment to talk to one of our urologists about erectile dysfunction or to get tested for prostate cancer, please call 215-563-1199 to schedule a consultation or contact us online.