On Thursday (and Friday) the world will finally hear the truth for once come out of Lance Armstrong’s mouth as he reveals all to Oprah Winfrey.
A new reports from USA Today suggests the disgraced cyclist will admit he started using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge in cycling in the mid-1990s, before he was diagnosed with cancer.
On Tuesday’s “The View”, Whoopi Goldberg got into a heated debate with Barbara Walters when she questioned the correlation between steroid use and cancer. [In Oct. 1996, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lung]
“I don’t know but the question really is: Do the steroids cause cancer? That’s the question. Did he get the cancer because of the steroids? That’s what we need to know,” Goldberg asked.
And it is a good question to ask.
In preparation of Armstrong’s no holds barred interview with Oprah, Dr. Damon Raskin, a board certified internist Los Angeles and men’s health specialist, has spoken to Celebzter about the effects of steroids and blood doping. Dr. Raskin in the supervising MD for Ageless Men’s Health, a nationwide facility dealing with men’s health and anti-aging issues and he has worked with many patients who have long-term steroid usage.
“Long term abuse of anabolic steroids can definitely increase the risk of cancer, (it is unclear whether this many have been a contributing factor to his testicular cancer) as well as atherosclerosis (increased plaque in arteries and risk of heart attacks and strokes), and lower the good cholesterol in the body (HDL),” Dr Raskin explains. “Steroids can also contribute to higher blood pressure, acne, and aggressive behavior.”
He adds: “In addition, blood doping, which involves blood transfusions and/or taking a hormone called eryrthropoetin which increases red blood cells and thus more oxygen to muscles, can also lead to strokes by making the blood too thick.”
We also asked Dr. Raskin about what the long-term ramifications on Armstrong’s body will be after prolonged use of steroids and blood doping.
“Long term, doping can lead to structural changes in the heart which could lead to increased risks of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.” he says. “High blood pressure, low amounts of HDL (good cholesterol), acne, infertility, and possibly prostate cancer are also major risks.”
And what happens when you suddenly stop taking steroids after years of abuse?
“When someone suddenly stops taking steroids after prolonged use, they may experience mood swings, depression and anxiety, muscle and joint pain, and insomnia. For men, the steroid abuser has turned off his own body’s making of testosterone, so a sudden withdrawal will also lead to lack of sex drive,” Dr. Raskin explains.
Interestingly, Livestrong also has an article about the long-term effects of doping, which you can read here.