Finasterides belongs to a group of medicines referred to as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. This drug is a steroid-like medication often prescribed by doctors to treat male pattern baldness and increased prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). Finasteride is significantly associated with high-grade prostate cancer and deters its usage as a chemo prevention agent.
This drug is available with the brand name Propecia or Proscar. This drug works by decreasing the hormone levels and minimizes hair follicles. The two prevalent concerns for men, i.e., BPH and male hair loss, make Finasteride seem like a super drug, but in reality, it has significant side effects, including male breast cancer.
Why do men need to use Finasteride?
The first question that comes to our mind is why men need to use this drug? Finasteride helps in decreasing the tissue and serum concentrations of DHT with substantial control of DHT within the 24 hours of medication.
Two licensed drugs contain Finasteride that doctors can most commonly suggest to men for the treatment of BPH and androgenetic alopecia. Proscar is given for curing and control BPH and decreases the enlargement of the prostate. In contrast, Propecia is being utilized by those who suffer from androgenetic alopecia as these drugs help in the regrowth of hair.
Does Finasteride Cause Side Effects?
Finasteride is an essential drug suggested by many doctors for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and BPH. 83% of men who used this drug stopped facing hair loss, and 66% helped people experience hair regrowth. Proscar and Propecia are effective for treating male baldness, but it comes with a whole level of side effects, including:
· Male breast cancer
· Reduced sex drive
· Ejaculation disorder
· Erectile dysfunction
· Breast enlargement
· High-grade prostate cancer
· and allergic reaction
Fewer common adverse effects of Finasteride, including runny nose, testicular pain, skin rash, are found in 2% of male patients, but the adverse side effects require immediate attention. Although vision problems are a usual effect of this drug, one study reported the harm it might cause to the optic nerve and retina.
Another concerning side effect may involve dementia in older men as the cognitive function is highly influenced by dihydrotestosterone. After learning about the significant side effects caused by Finasteride, some men will definitely cut off this drug's usage. There aren't any major concerns regarding its withdrawal, but prostate growth or hair loss will occur again.
Finasteride Linked To Higher Risk of Breast Cancer in Males
Breast cancer is one of the severe side effects of Finasteride. Numerous male individuals have reported breast cancer after being given these drugs for treating either BPH or hair loss. We have commonly heard about female breast cancer, but the same disease occurring in males is quite rare and accounts for 0.6% of all breast cancers.
According to the World Standard Population, this disease's incidence rate from the year 1995 to 2014 is
0.5 percent per 100,000 person-years in the Nordic countries. There had been a critical increase in male breast cancer patients after 2008. A disease survey in 2009 showed that 50 males from all over the globe were diagnosed with male breast cancer (MBC) after using 5 mg of Finasteride.
A prospective link has been observed between the higher rate of MBC and the usage of Finasterides. Clinical data and cases reported in the past years give evidence of men developing cancer due to it.
Male Breast Cancer after Finasteride Therapy
From most of the cases that were reported, it was observed that breast cancer developed in those male individuals who received finasteride therapy.
The primary action mechanism of Finasteride (inhibition of type II 5α-reductase) results in rapidly reducing the levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which in turn raises the oestradiol and testosterone levels. The changes in estrogen or testosterone might be the cause of increasing the risk of breast cancer among men.
The main source of estrogen in males is testosterone that is transformed into estrogen and, similarly, androstenedione to oestrone. The alterations in their levels may lead to producing lumps in the breast. The rate of surviving breast cancer is much lower as compared to women due to the late diagnoses and age.
John, a writer at, do my coursework, said,
"The mortality rate of male individuals dealing with breast cancer is much higher as compared to females due to the advanced stage of this illness."
Worldwide Cases of male breast cancer due to Finasteride
In the UK, out of all the cancer cases, five of them were the case reports of breast cancer that were linked with the usage of Finasteride. This drug was associated with the greater number of ADRs in each breast cancer-related as compared to other medications, used for treating BPH, even though its use in the UK is not that common.
Similarly, 50 worldwide cases of breast cancer in men due to Finasteride were recorded in the database. Within them, eight cases included people who were diagnosed with breast cancer a year after starting Finasteride Therapy. The Remaining includes those who were diagnosed after one or more years of starting this therapy. There were seven cases where the treatment using Finasteride was immediately stopped.
How To Avoid Finasteride Side Effects
Learning about prostate and breast health is increasingly important not only for women but also for men. It is important to avoid the side effects of Finasteride, but regrettably, it is quite difficult at times. Although this drug has its own benefits, the potential side effects outweigh these benefits. The simplest approach is to take the medication as prescribed by the doctor. The side effects may diminish as the dosage continues.
Side effects of Finasteride vary from person to person, but the higher risk of developing breast cancer due to it cannot be avoided. It is mostly advised by the doctor to report if they observe any changes in the breast immediately. Moreover, the practitioners must not prescribe this drug to those patients who have symptoms of breast cancer or may be at a higher risk due to hereditary mutations such as BRCA.
Liza Brooke has been curating technology and health-related blogs. She contributes her services on various online platforms by concentrating on key issues and innovative technologies. Currently, she is working as Sr. Research Analyst & Tech Blogger at Dissertation Assistance, a reasonable and trustworthy platform where students buy assignment online.