Viagra May Double The Risk Of Developing Deadly Skin Cancer

Viagra is perhaps the most popular drug currently used to treat erectile dysfunction. However, a new study has revealed that Viagra users may get more than just instant erections. The study, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that men who use Viagra had increased risk of developing melanoma by up to 84%.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 73,870 new cases will be diagnosed in 2015. It also estimates that 9,940 will die of melanoma. On average, melanoma is known to kill one person every 57 minutes. AMS statistics show that the number of melanoma cases have been rising for the past 30 years.

According to the study, some of the new cases of melanoma may be linked to Viagra use. The study employed data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study – a bi-annual survey which first began in 1986 and collects data from health professionals.

Starting from 2000, the Health Professionals study began collecting data about erectile dysfunctions. By then, Sildenafil was the only drug on the market – so the study collected data on its use. The study also collected data about melanoma –both risk factors and incidences. In the end, it collected data from 25,848 men over a decade. The men had an average age of 64 years.

Upon analyzing the data, the study found that 6.3 per cent of the men had used Viagra, and 5.8 percent had used it recently. The incidences of malignant melanoma among Viagra users were 84% higher among uses than non-users. As such, the study concluded that – confounding for other factors – Viagra use could increase the risk of developing melanoma by up to 84%.

The real mechanism through which Viagra may lead to the development of melanomas still isn’t known. However, the researchers speculated that since Viagra affects the same signaling pathways as melanoma, prolonged use could increase the likelihood of moles developing on the skin. Moles are generally precursors to melanoma.

However, it is important to note that the study did not conclude that Viagra causes melanoma. It simply found a possible between Viagra and skin cancer. As such, Viagra users don’t need to get into panic mode just yet. However, they need to take the usual precautions: protect their skins from prolonged exposure to the sun, and carry out regular check-ups. Although it is deadly, when detected early, melanoma can be successfully treated.

 

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