AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Georgia Cancer Center at the Medical College of Georgia at AU is receiving a big grant from the Department of Defense for a research project.

The $1.1 million grant will help fund research linking prostate cancer to cardiovascular diseases for four years.

One of the most common treatments for prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy, also known as hormone treatment, and it tends to cause men to age faster.

“Those men tend to have sort of markers of aging come sooner than most other men would in that short span of time they are being repeatedly tested,” said Dr. Avirup Guha the Director of Cardio-Oncology at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Age is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, and the risk is greater for Black men than it is for white men.

“So, the thought is the aging process, because of androgen deprivation therapy, happens faster in African American men – and maybe that is the reason,” Dr. Guha said.

The main goals of the research are to focus on how and why hormonal treatment makes aging faster, and why there are racial differences in the amount of men who die from heart diseases as a result of prostate cancer. 

“It is probably not race at all,” Dr. Guha said. “It’s probably, at worse, social determinants of health which might be affecting African Americans more than white men, which might be the reason why we see these worse events.”

These social-determinants include access to healthcare and quality education, social relationships, and the patient’s financial situation and where they live.

“Since we are located primarily in a place where a lot of our patients have those social determinants of health which lead to disease, it’s worth studying,” Dr. Guha said. “And prostate cancer is sort of a poster child for that.”

The Georgia Cancer Center still needs people diagnosed with prostate cancer to volunteer for studies. Attached below is a list of the compensated studies you can sign up for, with instructions on how to do so.