New Prostate Cancer Weapon: Estrogen Skin Patches?

Potential way around menopause-like side effects

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 4, 2013 11:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Today's prostate cancer treatments carry the risk of side effects reminiscent of menopause, but scientists may have found a way around the problem. Estrogen-releasing skin patches appear to be a safer way to treat the disease, scientists found in a study comparing patches to drug injections in 254 patients. The patches are also cheaper than the injections of LHRHa, a drug that cuts estrogen and testosterone production, the BBC reports.

Estrogen has long been known as a potential weapon against prostate cancer, which is often tied to high testosterone levels. But estrogen pills can cause an overdose in the liver, leading to heart attacks or strokes. Experts have turned to LHRHa, but it's associated with menopause-like side effects. As for the patch, "we're not claiming this is equivalent to current therapies yet, but it does look like we are getting castration levels of testosterone," says a researcher.

Skin patches may offer a new treatment for prostate cancer.
Skin patches may offer a new treatment for prostate cancer.   (Shutterstock)
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