Really, We Should Have Known This
One nasty effect of cancer and cancer treatment is something called cachexia. That’s when the patient loses an enormous amount of muscle and fat. In fact, about 20 percent of cancer deaths are related to cachexia.
This is something that’s been largely ignored during cancer treatment. Oh sure, we’ve done our best on the nutrition side of things, but food solutions haven’t worked very well. The patients still rapidly drop body mass, leading to even more fatigue and weakness. Many end up bedridden, causing even more muscle loss.
Luckily, cancer patients may have another option: testosterone. Honestly, we should’ve thought of this before.
Patients suffering with squamous cell carcinoma were treated with standard chemo and/or radiation. Some of them were given testosterone (100 mg testosterone enanthate per week) for 7 weeks while others were given a placebo.
Note: 100 mg per week is about what’s prescribed to most men receiving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Those getting testosterone shots maintained total body mass and increased lean body mass by 3.2 percent. They also “demonstrated enhanced physical activity” according to Dr. Melinda Sheffield-Moore.
It’s important to note that the survival rate was about the same in those getting the T, but quality of life and physical performance were greatly improved. Adjunct testosterone treatment basically kept them from being bedridden and more able lead their normal lives.
And you’d have to believe that not losing muscle mass would make their recovery much faster. Also, while it may sound shallow, it would be nice to not look like you’ve been ravaged by cancer, even if you’re currently fighting it.
How to Use This Info
If you or someone you know is getting chemo or radiation as part of their cancer treatment, show the doc the study referenced below. For the average person, it could mean a great improvement in quality of life. For the gym-goer, it might mean retaining more of that muscle you’ve worked so hard for.
- Traver J. Wright, E. Lichar Dillon, William J. Durham, Albert Chamberlain, Kathleen M. Randolph, Christopher Danesi, Astrid M. Horstman, Charles R. Gilkison, Maurice Willis, Gwyn Richardson, Sandra S. Hatch, Daniel C. Jupiter, Susan McCammon, Randall J. Urban, Melinda Sheffield-Moore. A randomized trial of adjunct testosterone for cancer-related muscle loss in men and women. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 2018; 9 (3): 482 DOI: 10.1002/jcsm.12295