Medicines such as finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) have been used to ease the symptoms of prostate enlargement. At first, experts believed that these medications might reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A clinical trial suggested, however, that they might simultaneously increase a man’s risk of a serious prostate cancer.
A new study collected data on nearly 40,000 men between 1996 and 2010. Approximately 10 percent of the men developed prostate cancer during that time. The Harvard researchers found no relationship between the use of finasteride or dutasteride and high-grade prostate cancer.
The men taking such drugs were less likely to develop prostate cancer at all, lowering their risk by approximately 5 percent. This should make men more comfortable about using these medications to help control symptoms of benign prostate enlargement.
Men may wish to discuss a different side effect of these medications, however. Some men report lasting difficulty with sexual function even after discontinuing the drugs.