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Testicular Cancer Survivors May Have Hormone Deficiency

Too little testosterone can affect quality of life, researchers say

MONDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Testosterone deficiency in young male cancer survivors often causes low energy levels and reduced quality of life, and these patients may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy, a new study suggests.

About 15 percent of male cancer survivors experience testosterone deficiency, which is a late side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

In this study of 176 young male cancer survivors and 213 young men without cancer, English researchers looked at the association between testosterone levels, quality of life, self-esteem, fatigue and sexual function.

The young male cancer survivors reported reduced energy levels, impaired sexual function and a markedly reduced quality of life. These problems were most severe in those with testosterone deficiency.

However, the cancer survivors had no problems with self-esteem, sexual relationships or mental health.

"This is an important study demonstrating that low testosterone levels are common in male cancer survivors and associated with an impaired quality of life," said lead investigator Dr. Richard Ross, of the University of Sheffield. "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 published online Feb. 22 in the journal Cancer.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about cancer and men.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, Feb. 22, 2010

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