Drug could lower risk of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is common. So what if there were a drug to lower a man's risk?

Well, there is.

Charlie Brown is a gardener who knows that prostate cancer is no bed of roses. He's had surgery to remove the prostate, radiation treatments and now hormone therapy, all with some unpleasant side effects.

"It's not fun," said Brown. "It's not fun at all. And it takes a lot out of the family."

So what if a drug could lower a man's chances of having to deal with prostate cancer?

That medicine already exists. A study in 2003 showed Finasteride, approved for enlarged prostate, lowers the chances of prostate cancer by 25 percent. Yet in a new study, only half of primary care doctors and urologists knew that Finasteride can be used for prevention. And about half were concerned about Finasteride causing high-grade prostate tumors even though research has refuted that.

"Probably there are individuals that would benefit from this drug and are not getting it," said Austenfield.

It's a similar story with breast cancer in women. A drug called Raloxifene has been shown to lower the risk. Some doctors say these drugs for cancer prevention should be viewed no differently than statins, drugs millions of Americans take for heart disease prevention.

But Austenfeld with Kansas City Urology cautions there can be some unpleasant side effects with Finasteride including impotence. Although the FDA says it generally doesn't last more than a year.

Austenfeld does think more doctors should talk to men at higher risk of prostate cancer about the drug.

"I think those with a strong family history, they should at least be given the information."

"For my son, it's very important now that we know about it," said Brown.

Brown plans to spread the word to others, too. The side effects are just one reason some men don't want to be on Finasteride to lower their cancer risk.

There's also the hassle of taking daily medicine and the cost.