Gender-Affirming-Hormonal Therapy Lowers Prostate Cancer Risk In Transgender Women, Study Shows

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The number of transgender individuals is on the rise, with 1.3% of 18-24-year-olds in the US identifying as transgender compared to 0.55% of older adults. This has implications for public health, including the increased risk of prostate cancer in transgender women.

GAHT lowers the risk of prostate cancer

To prevent urinary incontinence and complications, doctors keep the prostate gland intact when using hormonal therapy to induce female sex characteristics in transitioning individuals. This process is called gender-affirming hormonal therapy (GAHT), which involves surgery and medications to block testosterone. GAHT lowers the risk of prostate cancer because it is fueled by testosterone. However, transgender women could still have prostate cancer in ways that are not fully understood, according to a recent study.

The paper’s first author and urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Farnoosh Nik-Ahd, said that as progress is made in lessening the prejudice and discrimination that the group has experienced, more people are openly identifying as transgender. However, he added that it is crucial to comprehend the health outcomes for transgender individuals to offer the best care.

Researchers in the latest study sought to understand the incidence of prostate cancer and screening rates in transgender women. As a result, they carried out a comprehensive literature review that gave some remarkable insights. One notable finding is that GAHT prevalence in transgender individuals is not well understood, with some studies putting the number at around 12,000-13000 individuals identifying as transgender.

Effects of GAHT on transgender women not well understood

The team reported that there is limited information available regarding the effect of GAHT on the chances of developing prostate cancer. It has been observed that the incidence of prostate cancer is comparatively lower in transgender women as compared to cisgender males.

Due to the obstacles that transgender women face in accessing care, understanding these figures is restricted. A significant portion of them live below the poverty line, and several abstain from seeking medical assistance owing to concerns about discrimination. Some researchers hypothesize that extended estrogen use in GAHT might potentially play a role in the onset of prostate cancer.

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