A recent study has found that trans-identified males are susceptible to risks of prostate cancer, which may not be detected by traditional means if they are taking estrogen or receiving other gender transition treatments or procedures, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers had their findings published in the journal JAMA, which is the first of its kind to present data in the US about prostate cancer’s relationship with trans women. Notably, only biological males can get prostate cancer, as biological males possess a prostate, while biological females do not.
Dr. Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said: “There’s a misperception, both by patients and clinicians, that because these are women — they identify as women, they look like women — you don’t necessarily think you should check for prostate cancer.” Freedland is also an author of the paper, which was a collective effort between UCSF and Cedars-Sinaei, according to the report.
The researchers reportedly used data from the national registry of adults in the Veterans Affairs Health System, located in Durham, North Carolina. After they pulled all the information on prostate cancer patients from 2000 to 2022, they identified 155 cases of trans women suffering from the illness over that time period. Of those 155 trans patients, most had never used estrogen, but there were 39 who were currently taking it, or had in the past.
The report noted that estrogen is significant in these cases, because it can produce a dampening effect on the detection of prostate cancer patients. The primarily female hormone could decrease the risk of prostate cancer, but it could also conceal symptoms in patients who could otherwise receive sufficient medical care.
Dr. Farnoosh Nik-Ahd, a UCSF urologist and fellow author of the paper, said: “We’re still very much at the beginning of how best to care for this population — and it’s a population that will probably increase, in terms of the number of people openly identifying as transgender.”
“Our interest was prostate cancer, but we hope to expand this and look at other health outcomes.”
Additionally, the report suggested that the study’s results also presented the possibility that trans women who have taken estrogen may develop a more advanced case of prostate cancer than men, but the research in this area is still developing.
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