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New Study Shows Prostate Cancer Linked to Melanoma

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Did you know that prostate cancer increases your risk for melanoma skin cancer? Find out how and what you can do to reduce your risk below.

Do you have prostate cancer? Too-high androgen and DHT levels? You could be at risk for developing melanoma.

According to a recent study from the National Cancer Institute, men with abnormally high androgen levels are not only at risk for developing prostate cancer but possible melanoma skin cancer as well. The researchers looked at two studies examining over 60,000 men from the 1980s. It was determined that men who have prostate cancer show a high risk of developing melanoma later in life due to increased androgen levels.

What Are Androgens?

Androgens are a type of steroid hormone responsible for creating and regulating many of the sexual hormones in both men and women. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are the most commonly known hormones created and influenced by androgen levels. In a man, androgens are created in the testes and adrenal glands (a woman makes hers in the ovaries). Basically, androgens are responsible for creating chemical reactions that stop cell death, releases hormones, triggers new cell growth, and transitions cells from the resting phase into the cell growth phase. Low androgen levels can be dangerous for a man, but too-high androgen levels are risk factors for acne, melanoma, and prostate cancer.

Study Details

A team of researchers from the National Cancer Institute recently examined two studies from the 1980s relating prostate cancer and melanoma. According to the data, a man with a personal history of prostate cancer is twice as likely to also develop melanoma later on in life. The study also examined if prostate cancer increases the chances of getting any other kind of cancer, but it does not.

The study, published in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology was designed to examine the link between prostate cancer and androgen levels. Researchers found that “high androgen levels might contribute to the association between prostate cancer and the risk of melanoma.” Prostate cancer is known as androgen-related cancer, and high androgen levels are also related to an increased risk of getting melanoma. The study confirmed that a link between high androgen levels is linked to both prostate and skin cancer.

Of over 539 cases of melanoma in a review of over 42,000 people, men who had a personal history of skin cancer were twice as likely to develop melanoma. However, other forms of skin cancer were not more likely to develop after a man developed prostate cancer. A review of a second study of over 18,000 people showed the same results. In most cases, diagnosis of prostate cancer occurred two years or more before the diagnosis for melanoma.

Does Melanoma Lead to Prostate Cancer?

According to the study, cases of melanoma did not lead to an increased risk for prostate cancer. These findings were somewhat surprising, given that there is a clear relationship between prostate cancer and melanoma risk. Because of this lack of a causational relationship going both ways, researchers have considered that perhaps something else is leading to the rise in melanoma after prostate cancer.

Does Prostate Cancer Treatment Increase Risk?

According to the researchers, since there is no increased causation for prostate cancer after melanoma treatment, it is possible that it may be the treatments for prostate cancer that increase melanoma risk. However, since the researchers did not look at this directly, currently, there is no solid evidence backing that prostate cancer causes melanoma, or if it is simply due to the high androgen levels associated with both types of cancer. The researchers concluded that, "it will be interesting to examine the effects of continuous androgen deprivation for prostate cancer" and its role in the prevention of melanoma.

Androgens and Prostate Cancer

According to many prostate cancer studies (including one 1995 study conducted by Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland), the production of androgens plays a large role in the enlargement of the prostate (which results in prostate cancer in around 30 percent of cases, according to the study). However, androgens may not be a direct cause of prostate cancer. Rather, androgens may provide a permissive role.

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, specifically, high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can lead to prostate enlargement and cancer. Testosterone levels, also regulated by androgens, are often low in these men. In the prostate, the hormone DHT can bind with the androgen receptors and is responsible for prostate growth. In healthy men, this process is essential for maintaining sexual health. However, DHT dissociates from androgen receptors slowly, which can result in the overgrowth of prostate cells. Using 5α-reductase inhibitors can help reduce DHT levels in the prostate, causing androgen levels to fall to normal levels, which can reduce the size of an enlarged prostate.

Regulating Androgen Levels Naturally

Men with prostate cancer typically show too-high androgen levels. If your androgen levels are too high and your DHT levels are out of balance, this could lead to an increased risk for prostate cancer and melanoma. A combination of lowering androgen levels and reducing the binding effects of DHT will help lower both prostate cancer and melanoma risk.

Try adding the following supplements to help regulate androgen levels in your body:

DHT-Lowering Supplements

Red clover Isoflavones: According to a 2003 study from Monash University in Australia, extract of red clover is successful for reducing androgen levels and decreasing prostate size in mice. The mice were fed a protein matched isoflavones free (IF) diet for 28 days. After 28 days, the mice showed enlarged prostate size. The mice were then fed a red clover-derived (isoflavone rich) diet for an additional 28 days. After this period, the mice showed smaller prostate size and lower androgen levels.

Saw Palmetto: This herb is useful for many health ailments, but it has a powerful anti-androgen effect that can reduce the spread and risk of prostate cancer. The extract is derived from the liposterolic fraction of the saw palmetto berries. This extract contains bioactive phytochemicals that prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT by blocking 5-alpha reductase. Saw palmetto also reduces the effect of hormones on the prostate by preventing DHT from binding to androgen receptors in the prostate. According to the American Cancer Society, saw palmetto should not be combined with oral contraceptives, blood thinners, or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen).

Ginger: A 2012 study conducted by Georgia State University indicates that ginger can be a highly beneficial treatment for prostate cancer. Ginger is a natural source of bioactive phenolics, which provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiproliferative activities in the body. The researchers gave ginger supplements to mice with enlarged prostates. The mice saw a reduction in prostate size and tumor reduction by an average of 56 percent.

Turmeric: According to the American Cancer Society, turmeric is a spice that could reduce prostate cancer tumor size. Turmeric is a relative of ginger, and has similar anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiproliferative effects. The ingredient curcumin, found in turmeric, is considered responsible for the anti-cancer properties of the spice. Studies have shown that supplementing with curcumin can inhibit the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in mice.

Phytosterol Pygeum: Pygeum is an extract derived from the African Plum plant. The supplement is taken from the bark of the plum tree and has been proven to slow the growth of prostate cancer. Pygeum contains phytochemicals including tannins, esters of ferulic acid, and triterpenes. These phytochemicals block the binding of DHT in the prostate. A 2007 study conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia gave mice at-risk for prostate cancer pygeum supplements. These mice showed an average of 35 percent reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer.

Stress and DHT

According to dermatologist Dr. Seymour Weaver, high-stress levels can lead to the overproduction of DHT. Extended periods of stress lead to adrenal fatigue, which triggers abnormally high DHT levels in men. This can lead to a host of problems, including prostate enlargement and hair loss. By reducing your daily stress levels, you can help control the production of DHT in the body, which can lead to the overgrowth of prostate cells, eventually leading to prostate cancer and an increased risk for melanoma.

Simple De-stressing Techniques 
  • Engage in yoga and other forms of exercise
  • Mindfully relax for at least 10 minutes each day
  • Volunteer and think of others
  • Cook at home
  • Unwind at the end of the day with tea or another hot beverage

Preventing the Overproduction of Androgens

Overproduction of androgens like DHT can lead to an increased risk for prostate cancer and consequently, melanoma. If you want to reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer and melanoma as a man, it is important to regulate the production of the hormone DHT in the body. The easiest way to do this is to ensure that the production of testosterone is up, and the production of DHT is down. The above supplements will help restore the vital balance between testosterone and DHT in the body and prostate. This will help reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer and help heal prostate cancer if you do have it. By employing these methods, you can help reduce your chances of developing melanoma in the future as well as reduce your risk for prostate cancer. 





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