There are many different studies on the effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), and most of them seem to focus on the negative effects. Research has linked high blood pressure, liver damage, mood swings, and even prostate cancer to anabolic steroids. Despite the negatives, some studies may actually suggest that AAS cycling for prostate cancer prevention is possible. Here is what you should know – though keep in mind that this article is for information purposes only and should not be used in place of professional medical advice.
Prostate cancer is a cancer of the male prostate gland, which is responsible for making the fluid to protect and nourish sperm. It much more common in older men than in their younger counterparts, too. No one is really sure what exactly causes prostate cancer, but researchers do know that hormones play a vital role in its development and treatment. Research shows that cancerous cells in the process actually feed on androgen to grow, and over time, this allows the cancer to grow and spread.
Current treatments for prostate cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation – just like other forms of cancer. However, because scientists are aware that hormones play such an integral role in prostate cancer, they also work to deplete the amount of androgen in the body and fill up androgen receptors with AR antagonists. Although this treatment shows promise, the trouble is that the body develops certain mechanisms to combat this, including mutations in the androgen receptors themselves.
As men age, they no longer produce the same amount of testosterone. As such, there are some studies that link the lack of testosterone to prostate cancer, although none of them are conclusive. A group of researchers decided to attempt to shrink prostate tumors in a laboratory (in vitro and in mice in vitro) with testosterone, and the results were astonishing. The testosterone actually killed tumor cells much more readily than androgen removal and deprivation. In short, while men are being told that steroids can actually cause prostate cancer, testosterone may actually be an effective treatment and prevention tool.
Many physicians now turn to BAT therapy (Bipolar Androgen Therapy) in experimental settings. This simply means that they induce very high androgen levels followed by very low androgen levels in an effort to reduce the chance the prostate has to acclimate to the treatment. Because studies suggest that huge levels of testosterone and other androgens may actually ward off the growth of prostate cancer cells, physicians prescribe massive amounts of testosterone (over 200mg per week) for a short period of time and then work hard to remove all traces of androgen from the body afterward. Doing so essentially “confuses” the cancer cells and inhibits their growth environment.
Anabolic steroids aren’t the only tools in the medical industry’s prostate cancer prevention arsenal. In fact, they often use corticosteroids to treat the condition and to prevent it from recurring after remission. Corticosteroids more closely resemble cortisol than anabolic steroids, and they can often enhance the body’s catabolic state, which is vital for shutting down the actions of androgen. With that in mind, steroids like dexamethasone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone are often used in conjunction with testosterone to treat cancer once it’s started. There is no evidence to suggest that using corticosteroids regularly is a therapeutic form of prostate cancer prevention.
Currently, anabolic steroids are not FDA approved for use as prostate cancer prevention. However, some men who have a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer have used anabolic steroids in low-dose cycles to prevent it. In this case, anabolic steroids should not be used in performance enhancement doses. Bear in mind, also, that not all anabolic steroids are recommended for this purpose. Often, the mildest steroids are the best choices because they create far less risk for side effects. The chart below shows a few comparisons between doses for prostate cancer prevention and performance enhancement.
|AAS||Cancer Prevention Dose||Performance Enhancement Dose|
It is important to remember to cycle these steroids, just as you would for performance enhancement, and to consider your need for AIs or PCT based on your doses and cycle lengths. The goal is to ramp up the body’s androgenic state, then remove it, which is exactly what these steroids can do to a degree. It is not recommended for men to use anabolic steroids to treat or prevent any kind of cancer without their physicians’ approval or prescription, and it is important that men who are taking drugs for existing prostate problems, including cancer, never use steroids without their doctors’ advice.
Of course, anabolic steroids are not the only means of prostate cancer prevention. According to the National Cancer Institute, factors men can control that may aid in prostate cancer prevention include:
Screenings can detect the presence of an enlarged prostate, which could be a precursor to cancer, especially in men who have a genetic predisposition. When men have an enlarged prostate, their doctors will increase screenings and may recommend medications or lifestyle changes to help. Though there is no evidence that treating an enlarged prostate can prevent cancer in these men, preliminary evidence shows that an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer are very closely linked.
Studies on the effects of testosterone on prostate cancer are still limited, but according to the latest research, men who use AAS may actually prevent their prostate cancer in much the same way as BAT therapy treats it. However, the results are still inconclusive and men should never rely on AAS cycling for prostate cancer prevention.