A commonly prescribed drug used to treat enlarged prostates and male pattern baldness now believed to reduce prostate cancer risk.
A new study overturns previous concerns and finds that in nearly 19,000 men treated with finasteride, the agent found in the prostate drug Proscar and the hair-loss drug Propecia, overall prostate cancer risk is reduced by 25%.
In addition, previous concerns about the drug contributing to more aggressive form of prostate cancers in men who develop the disease were also diminished. The study found that high-grade cancers occurred in 3.5 percent of prostate cancer patients who took finasteride and 3 percent of patients given a placebo. There was no difference between the finasteride and placebo groups regarding overall long-term survival or survival following a prostate cancer diagnosis. It was also noted that the increased diagnosis of high-grade prostate cancer likely occurs due to finasteride’s effectiveness in shrinking enlarged prostates, but does not shrink the tumor making it easier to detect during biopsy.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly detected form of cancer in men, found in one in six men during their lifetimes.
The study was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine