Information from the Nurses' Health Study indicated that the combination of estrogen and androgen used to treat hypoandrogenism could increase breast cancer risk. However, other studies indicated androgens may decrease breast cancer risk. Follow-up studies on the Women's Health Initiative found women who received estrogen and no progestogen showed a significant decrease in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and breast cancer. This has caused a reconsideration of androgens added to estrogens. Still, the FDA requires demonstration of CVD and breast cancer safety for any product containing androgens or estrogen plus an androgen; that has not been done.
When measuring testosterone levels, it is critical to determine the levels of both free and total testosterone to understand the cause of any observed symptoms of deficiency (Khosla et al 2008).
Because of difficulties with equipment standardization and inter-laboratory variability, it is recommended that physicians consistently use the same local laboratories and gain familiarity with the accuracy, precision and definition of normal values for the assays offered in their communities (Morales et al 2010).
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