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What Increases Your Risk?

Unhealthy habits can make it more likely for you to have harmful effects from androgen deprivation therapy, for example:

  • Poor diet (including too much salt, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking

Also, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, not treating those conditions could increase your risk for cardiovascular problems from ADT.

If you have known heart problems, such as coronary artery disease, plaque and blockage of heart arteries, or if you have had a heart attack, you may have a higher risk of a cardiac event in the first year undergoing ADT. Also, in some cases certain types of ADT may be better for your heart, so it is very important to talk with your cancer doctor (oncologist) about your heart health before starting ADT.

When to Call a Doctor

It is important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath at rest or with activity
  • Fatigue or tiredness limiting your ability to exercise
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Passing out
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Pain or cramping of the legs at rest or with walking

You should seek emergency medical care for severe symptoms.

If you notice signs of stroke—someone having sudden loss of movement in face, leg or arm, or trouble speaking—call 911 at once. It's important to act fast to avoid permanent brain damage or even death.

  • Last Edited 09/30/2019