The prostate is a chestnut-sized male gland responsible for producing the fluid that mixes with semen to produce seminal fluid. It lies between the bladder and rectum fitting snugly around the urethra. Early prostate cancer often causes no symptoms. When cancer does occur the symptoms can be similar to the non-cancerous enlarged prostate (BPH) such as frequent urination especially during the night, difficulty controlling urine flow, painful urination, blood in the urine or semen, or pain or stiffness in the hips, thighs or lower back.
The U.S. has the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world, and more than 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in any given year. The most convincing evidence concerns the diet/prostate link. Hydrogenated fats are identified as the major culprit, causing hormonal imbalances that are known to clog the tiny blood vessels of the prostate and encourage cancer. It is never too late to begin eating a healthier diet.
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnoses cancer in American men, accounting for almost one in four cancer cases. According to the American Cancer Society it is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S. One in six men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime, mostly after age 70, and 1 in 6 will die from it. Cells in the prostate gland are very prone to gene mutation. Autopsy evidence indicates that prostate cancer is historically evident in up to 34 percent of men aged 40-49, and up to 70 percent of men aged 80 and older. Today, it is unfortunately recognized that if a man lives long enough, he will eventually die from prostate cancer.
Though most males eventually develop some cancerous cells in their prostate, many prostate cancers develop so extremely slowly that men often die of other causes. Despite the ongoing debate whether the results of a prostate screening may cause unnecessary treatment, evidence suggests that testing for prostate cancer saves lives.
WHY SUCH HIGH PROSTATE CANCER RATES IN THE U.S. AND WESTERN COUNTRIES?
One factor seems to be the environment. Today, American men are exposed to more than 60,000 chemicals in our food supply, water supply, and air. Billions of pounds of chemicals each year are sprayed upon our lawns, golf courses (which may be the most toxic place of all), crops, farms, and in our general community. These chemicals are called “xenoestrogens” because they are synthetic chemicals that structurally mimic estrogen in the human body. Other exposures include fluoridated water, cigarette smoke, radiation, car exhausts, heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides and stress. Also, foods laden with sugar, refined flour, and animal fats are fertile ground for the development of the disease.
PSA- (Prostate-specific Antigen)
Is the most abundant prostate-specific antigen, the most abundant protein synthesized in the prostate gland. Men have their blood tested for PSA in order to detect prostate cancer at an early stage when it is often considered more curable. The PSA test can also help assess the efficacy of various prostate cancer treatment options. PSA has always been viewed as a blood indicator of prostate cancer; however it is now apparent that PSA may be no more than an estimated marker for prostate health. It appears that PSA itself may play a role in the progression and metastasis of prostate cancer if there is an unexpected or short-term ‘spike’ in a man’s PSA score. It is best to keep the PSA score under 4.0. The easiest way to reduce PSA levels by half is to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which transforms healthy testosterone into a more toxic form called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT has a growth-promoting effect on prostate cells that is 2-10 times greater than that of testosterone.
The Gleason Grading
Prostate cancer is graded by how differentiated it is from normal tissue using the Gleason score. The Gleason system is based exclusively on the architectural pattern of the glands of the prostate tumor. It evaluates how effectively the cells of any particular cancer are able to structure themselves in to glands resembling those of normal prostate.
Gleason scoring is simple, and grading goes from very well differentiated (grade 1) to very poorly differentiated (grade 5). A Gleason score of 2-4, which is well differentiated means that there is a 20 percent risk of metastasis. A score of 5-7 means 40 percent, and a score from 8-10 means poorly differentiated and a 75 percent risk of metastasis. Poorly differentiated prostate cancer accounts for the majority of deaths, while well-differentiated prostate cancer results in death of less than 7 percent of men observed for 15 years. The presence of a Gleason grade 4 more than doubled the risk of death from prostate cancer in younger men, and the number of deaths from prostate cancer increased over 15 years, independent of grade or age.
A digital rectal examination is used for diagnosis and monitoring. A blood test is needed to calculate PSA which can help to track the course of the disease and evaluate possible treatment. Left untreated, the 5-year survival rate is 91-100 percent for localized disease, 85-95 percent for regional disease and only 26-31 percent for those patients with distal metastases. Treatment options ultimately depend on the stage and histological grade of the cancer, the age of the patients and co-morbidities. Treatment options include observation, surgery, radiotherapy, brachytherapy (implanted radiation seeds), hormonal therapy (to suppress androgens), and chemotherapy.
MEN, HORMONES AND CANCER
Contrary to popular belief, natural estrogen plays important roles in both men and women. In males, estrogen imbalances influence the reproductive system in a myriad of ways. Many scientists now believe that estrogenic pollutants (xenoestrogens) underlie some disturbing trends such as decreasing sperm counts and function, decreasing testosterone production, and testicular malformations.
Just as the testicles are the male equivalent of the female ovaries, the prostate is the male equivalent of the female uterus. It should not be surprising that we see the same hormonal effects on both. Dr. John Lee and an increasing number of researchers believe that excessive exposure to estrogen (from the environment and feed-lot animals) may be a primary cause of prostate enlargement and cancer. A small amount of progesterone cream (8-10 mg/day then may increase slowly) may play an important role in both the reduction of enlarged prostates, decreasing PSA, and the reversal of prostate cancer.
As men age, there is a general lowering of his testosterone level. Lower levels of testosterone have been correlated with depression, low libido, poor memory and less risk of cancer. The problem appears to be that the testosterone metabolite (dihydrotestosterone-DHT) causes and furthers the progression of prostatic enlargement and possibly cancer. Men deficient in DHT do not experience prostatic growth. The prescription drug Proscar (finasteride) can inhibit the production of DHT, lowering the risk for cancer (18 percent versus 24 percent for placebo). However, if cancer develops, men on Proscar had a more aggression form of cancer. An increase in the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in elderly men indicates that estrogen may also be the main culprit in the development of BPH and cancer. Many more doctors are prescribing testosterone replacement for men when their urine or plasma levels are low. This may help reverse the symptoms, but it can be risky business if DHT is also increased. Make sure you discuss testosterone replacement carefully with your doctor if you have a history or are prone to cancer. Pygeum and stinging nettles root partially block the action of two enzymes involved in the body’s production of estrogen and DHT.
A saliva test can be a good indicator on how hormones in men line up to implicate prostate cancer. The most common hormone results are: high estradiol, low progesterone, low testosterone, low DHEA and high night cortisol. These hormones levels are also similar in women with breast cancer however one change is that the testosterone level would be high in a women with breast cancer.
RISKS AND PRECAUTIONS
Some of the best ways to combat prostate cancer risk is to decrease exposure to xenoestrogens. As explained above, these hormone-disrupting chemicals cause a man to have lower ‘good’ testosterone, and a higher form of the dangerous DHT form. Try and avoid plastic packaging, avoid hormone-laced meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products. Eat organic or free-range animal protein. Whenever possible drink natural spring water or alkaline water. Increase consumption of phytoestrogen foods such as soy, flaxseed and greens foods. See a health professional regarding safe and effective ways to detoxify your body. Xenoestrogen stress can cause more cancer cells to travel to distant parts of the body.
A current and possibly a most dangerous risk for men are their increased use and exposure to electromagnetic radiation. According to ongoing research done in France, it is risky business for a man to carry a live cell phone on his hip (like a Colt-45 from the Old West). The radiation exuded from these phones is significant. The role of thumb is to keep these phones off your body as much as possible, get anything electromagnetic out of the bedroom where you sleep. And minimize exposure to TVs, computers, microwaves and cellular towers.
OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER
- The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test can help detect prostate cancer, as well as other prostate conditions. But in some cases, PSA may not be an automatic alarm. See your doctor.
- If a man is over 50, he should see his physician yearly or bi-yearly for a rectal exam.
- Prostate cancer is more common among African-American men. Caucasian men are second and Hispanic men third. Genetics and poverty may contribute.
- Environmental toxins are a leading cause of prostate cancer due to xenoestrogen exposure.
- Diet, a healthy lifestyle, and supplementation can help reduce the risk of cancer development.
- Insulin resistance and cancer have a direct connection. Those men with high insulin levels may increase their cancer risk by 2-3 fold. Insulin resistance causes high levels of insulin and glucose in circulation.
- Prescription drugs for cholesterol lowering called statins (Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Vytorin) can negatively affect a man’s testosterone level if their total cholesterol number gets lower than 130. (There are no circumstances in which you should let your cholesterol level gets this low. Talk to your doctor about immediately lowering the dosage of the drug). Because these drugs lower cholesterol and a man’s hormones are partially made from cholesterol, there is a direct correlation to lowered testosterone levels and more depression for men and the potential for an increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Sexual activity influences your risk of developing prostate cancer. Multiple partners cause an increased risk and more sexual activity leads to a lower risk.
- There are many different treatments for sexual dysfunction resulting from prostate cancer. In addition to drug therapy, there are procedures called sural nerve graft that can provide better urinary control and preserve erectile function.
- Urinary frequency (especially through the night) is a common sign that prostate cancer has advanced.
- In men under 65 years of age, prostate surgery can save lives.
The foods that men eat profoundly influence whether they develop prostate problems, including prostate cancer. Processed foods are a major culprit of prostate problems over the years, as are hydrogenated fats from margarine, red meats, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, as probably the worst of all: aspartame. These foods irritate the prostate and deplete the most important nutrients for prostate health — magnesium, zinc and selenium. Spicy ingredients such as Tabasco sauce or jalapeno peppers can also inflame the male gland.
Eating a more vegetarian, macrobiotic and/or raw food diet can undoubtedly help to decrease the risk of cancer, but we cannot say it prevents it. Foods such as basil contain monoterpenes, which are antioxidants known for their cancer-preventive effects. Garlic, onions, and chives contain allylic sulfides which have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Berries of all kinds are high in bioflavonoids that are known as strong antioxidants with anti-cancer effects. Green and black tea contains polyphenols, which have potent anti-cancer effects. Curcumin is an Indian spice that is strongly anti-inflammatory. Also, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens are vegetables high in indoles which have potent anti-cancer effects. Citrus fruits contain not only Vitamin C but also numerous bioflavonoids including Quercetin. Tomatoes are high in Lycopene and carrots and carrot juice is high in Beta-carotene. Greens in general, especially the collard greens, green peas, celery, kale, spinach and broccoli contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are carotenoid pigments that have cancer-fighting properties.
Prostate cancer rates are soaring in Western countries, whereas rates remain low in Asia where organic (non-GMO) soy consumption is higher. In an Australian study, men who ate lean red meat, versus those who ate tofu and one serving of fish and chicken per week, had lower levels of a sex-binding hormone called SHGH which have been associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine found that a compound known as Lupeol, found in great quantities in fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, elderberries, mangos, figs, grapes, olives and green peppers, holds promise to combat prostate cancer. Lupeol treatments have decreased PSA levels in men and delayed the progression of cancer.
There is now a link between cow’s milk consumption and subsequent development of prostate cancer. Studies done at Harvard Medical Center showed that men consuming 2 ½ servings of dairy products daily had a 30 percent increase in prostate cancer risk. Keep in mind that cow’s milk in America is laced with hormones, antibiotics and steroids that can lower good testosterone levels. If you must consume dairy foods, please choose organic.
Both nicotine and marijuana lower testosterone levels and disrupt prostate health. Make high quality food a priority. Try buying and eating natural, organic, whole foods. (see BPH for more healthy dietary information)
- SAW PALMETTO, PYGEUM, NETTLE ROOT, UVA URSI COMBINATION
Although not cancer-curing by itself, this herbal combination improves the integrity of the prostate, improves circulation, decreases inflammation and may improve PSA levels. For frequent urination at bedtime, this combination will increase urinary flow, and decrease frequency. Within one month there should be a 50 percent improvement in nightly urination trips to the bathroom. Phytosterols, especially Beta-sitosterol, are among the most beneficial components that link Saw palmetto with prostate cancer protection and helps alleviate prostate enlargement. Dosage: 160mg 3 times a day, but cancer patients may require higher doses. See an experienced practitioner.
- A POTENT MULTI-VITAMIN/MINERAL FORMULA WITH EXTRA ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants are one of the most important supplements in boosting the immune system, decreasing free radical destruction, increasing natural killer cell activity, and improve blood and lymph in the cells and fluid. Make sure the multi-vitamin has a generous amount of B complex.
- VITAMIN C & BIOFLAVONOIDS (Quercetin and Grape Seed Extract)
Vitamin C provides significant antioxidant and tutorial activity. Quercetin for 1 month was successful in relieving the pain associated with chronic prostatitis, painful ejaculation, and irritation during urination. Better relief when taken with plant enzymes twice a day. Dosage: 1,000-5,000 mg daily. Quercetin: 500-1,000mg daily. If you can find a naturopath or MD who can administer intravenous Vitamin C it would be of great advantage to slow disease progression.
- VITAMIN D3
More and more evidence is suggesting that Vitamin D3 may have a significant role in preventing prostate cancer and treating existing cancer. Higher doses are recommended. Dosage: 1,000-5,000 IU daily or as recommended by a qualified practitioner.
- VITAMIN E
Studies show that vitamin E helps to prevent prostate cancer because of its excellent ability to decrease free radicals (including radiation). Dosage: 400-1,200 IU daily.
This antioxidant mineral has a significant anti-cancer effect, increases NK cell activity, and cuts prostate cancer death toll by 64 percent. Several studies have shown that low plasma levels of selenium (below 10.7 mcg/dL) had a 4 or 5 times higher incidence of prostate cancer than did men above that level. [John Hopkins University]. Dosage: 200mcg daily.
- VITAMIN A & CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is important for male reproductive function and a potent promoter of prostate health. Dosage: 5-10,000 IU daily as directed.
- ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID
A potent antioxidant that acts as a prostate protectant. Dosage: 100-500 mg daily.
- GREEN TEA
A natural product containing polyphenol, compounds that are active against prostate cancer.
- COENZYME Q-10
CoQ-10 is an essential coenzyme that is an important component of the mitochondria (the energy-producing units of the cell). CoQ-10 serves as an anti-oxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals that promote tumor growth and definitely can decrease the risk of metastases. Dosage: 60-300 mg a day (prefer gel capsule for better absorption).
- ESSIAC TEA
This famous herbal formula has consistent evidence of anti-tumor activity. The Essiac formula consists of 4 herbs: burdock root, rhubarb root, sheep sorrel and slippery elm. A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found widespread use and perceived benefits among cancer patients. Just over 40 percent of those patients claimed that Essiac was attributed to the halt of their cancer progression. German scientists have found the Essiac tea block angiogenesis (growth of cancer cells) and found it to be very helpful for lymphoma. Dosage: A minimal protocol calls for one teaspoon twice a day. More aggressive cancers may require higher doses.
- 1,3 BETA GLUCAN from MAITAKE MUSHROOMS, CORDYCEPS
Beta-glucan is possibly the most potent immune-enhancer known to science. It has been widely studied for its power against tumors and cancer. Maitake mushrooms have yielded promising anti-cancer results and improved immune status. Research showed that the Cordyceps may have even stronger immune-boosting, anti-cancer activity than the other medical mushrooms. Dosage: s directed by a qualified practitioner
Zinc is an important antioxidant mineral useful for promoting a healthier prostate gland and has the ability to be an effective chemoprevention agent. A significant portion of men are at risk for marginal Zinc deficiency and potential risk for cancer. There appears to be a reverse correlation between PSA and Zinc levels. Zinc acts to combat oxidative damage, plays a role in DNA repair, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc is naturally found in raw pumpkin seeds. Normal dosage: 30-60 mg a day. Higher doses of 100-150 mg daily for 6 months may be recommended by a qualified practitioner.
- PROGESTERONE CREAM
After their fifties, most men experience an increase in estrogen and a decrease in their testosterone. Continual assault of estrogen-mimicking chemicals creates a recipe for hormone havoc. Dr. John Lee claims that the prostate is the male equivalent of the female uterus since both originated from the same embryonic cells. It is not surprising then to see the same hormonal effects on each organ. German and other scientists believe application of a small amount of progesterone cream appears to play an important role in protecting the prostate gland in men. Progesterone can activate natural killer cells and calm the brain (less cortisol produced). Dosage: 25-35 mg daily 25 days per month under the direction of a qualified practitioner.
- IP6 (INOSITOL HEXAPHOSPHAYE)
IP6 is a component of fiber in the highest concentrations. IP6 has antioxidant activity and has been shown in research to cause malignant cells to revert back to normal, healthy cells. IP6 may increase natural killer cell activity. Dosage: 2-6 capsules daily.
- FLAX LIGNANS and ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed and fish oil are supportive for normal cell proliferation and protective against neo-plastic growths. Flax seed (lignans) interferes with DHT (the cancer-causing form of testosterone) by 15 percent, slowing the growth rate of cancer cells and helping to reduce BPH. Flaxseed and a low-fat diet may influence the progression of prostate cancer by influencing both estrogen and androgen metabolism. Flaxseed is a source of dietary fiber that is especially rich in dietary lignans. Dosage: 1,000-4,000 mg daily or up to 30 grams a day (approx. 3 round tablespoonfuls of ground flaxseed).
- SOY (GENISTEIN) and PHYTOESTROGENS
Phytoestrogens, found in many vegetable foods, particularly soy and linseed, appear to mitigate the negative effects on sex hormones in the body. There is compiling evidence in relationship to soy and isoflavones (eaten readily in Asian countries) and lower incidence of hormone-related cancers. Scientists have long speculated that dietary isoflavones may help in the treatment and/or prevention of prostate cancer. Research shows that genistein, one of the naturally-occurring isoflavones in soy, may work well with Red Clover in inducing apoptosis of prostate cancer cells. In higher doses of 100-200 mg daily, soy helps to block estrogen receptor sites in prostate cells. Eat only organic soy foods.
- AGED GARLIC
|The active ingredient in aged garlic is S-allyl-mercaptocysteine and research shows that it can help slow the development of prostate cancer. Dosage: 1-2 cloves daily or supplement with 1-3 tablets daily of commercial products.
Lycopene is mainly derived from tomatoes. They are powerful carotenoids that have antioxidant properties that may inhibit prostate carcinogenesis, and may safely prevent hormone-refractory prostate cancer. The men who consumed the highest levels of lycopene had an 86 percent decreased risk of prostate cancer. Dosage: As directed on label.
- COX-2 INHIBITNG HERBALS
A noted urologist has studied how herbs that can decrease COX-2 activity (i.e. Oregano, Turmeric, Boswellia, Ginger, Holy basil, Green tea, Rosemary and Skullcap), may have a beneficial effect in lowering inflammation associated with treating both BPH and prostate cancer. COX inhibition is being looked at throughout oncology as a potential mechanism for chemo protection. Dosage: As directed on label.
- MILK THISTLE
The active ingredient in milk thistle is called silymarin. It has been shown to bolster the immune system and slows the entry of liver-damaging toxins (i.e., free-radicals) that would otherwise damage the liver. Milk thistle may ameliorate the effects of various tumor promoters, and is a good adjunct to chemotherapy (Doxorubicin) that is toxic to the liver and kidneys. Dosage: 300 mg 2-3 times a day.
Astrgalus has been used widely for thousands of years in Asia as an immune-system stimulant. It has been found to improve the function of T-lymphocytes in cancer patients, stimulate interferon production, and help to reduce the serious side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It promotes immune function and increases survival time. Dosage: As directed on label.
- INDOLE-3 CARBONOL (I3C)
I3C is a compound from broccoli. It has antioxidant effects and a potent stimulator of natural detoxifying enzymes in the body. Indole-3 carbonal (along with progesterone) and get the estrogen out of the body. Several studies have observed that I3C can induce apotosis (cancer cell death) in human prostate cancer. In another study, DIM was also found to suppress prostate cancer cell proliferation. Dosage: As directed by practitioner.
- CALCIUM and MAGNESIUM
Supplementing with these two essential minerals is advisable in order to stabilize bone and muscle integrity and also to help improve absorption of other essential minerals that are lost during chemotherapy, radiation or other conventional treatments. Dosage: Calcium 1,000 mg daily; Magnesium 500 mg daily.
- POMEGRANATE JUICE
Studies have found that pomegranate juice consumption, which shows high antioxidant levels, show statistically significant effects on PSA coupled with corresponding effects on decreasing prostate cancer cell growth. Dosage: Two juice doses daily.
When supplemented prior to radiation treatments, nicotinamide can improve successful outcomes. This discovery was made 20 years ago by the National Institutes of Health. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.
- PANCREATIC ENZYMES and COLOSTRUM
Pancreatic enzymes help to digest food when taken before meals. They also have many therapeutic functions including anti0inflammaotry activities and anti-cancer activities. They appear to help prevent metastases. Since cancer is due to an immune system malfunction, colostrums may be the single most effective remedy that optimizes the performance of the immune system. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.
In studies with mice, Boron has been found to inhibit the proliferation of certain prostate cancer cell lines. Boron is found mostly in vegetables and fruits and is safe to supplement in low doses. A national study found that men consuming an average of 1.8 mg of boron daily had one-third the risk for prostate cancer of those consuming half as much. Dosage: 6-15 mg daily.
- CITRUS PECTIN
For metastasized prostate cancer, the prognosis is currently grim. But modified citrus pectin has been shown under certain circumstances, to inhibit the ability of some melanoma cells to metastasize in the lungs. Dosage: As directed on package.
- SHARK CARTILAGE
When used in large doses, shark cartilage may protect against angiogenesis. Some reports suggest it ma suppress tumor growth 30 percent. Dosage: 1 gram for every 2 pounds of body weight.
Although melatonin is mostly used for a more restful sleep, research has shown that melatonin can also lower a night cortisol level in men (High level indicate cancer risk). Melatonin also improves interleukin-2 levels and has a profound immune stimulating effect. Dosage: 3-10 mg daily.
Emotions are another largely ignored factor in prostate cancer. Our unreleased emotions cause us to get “stuck” which creates energy blockage (adhesions) in the body and hamper circulation. The muscles become rigid in order to keep emotions suppressed. The prostate gland is the center of male emotions concerning sexuality. All of our emotions and judgments around sexual inadequacy, guilt, anger, and stress are stored in the tiny muscles and other tissues of the prostate. The restriction of blood flow causes a tightening in the groin area, the muscles clamp down on the tissue surrounding the prostate, preventing normal expansion. The newest approach to medicine, called Energy medicine shows repeatedly that emotions play the biggest role in our health (possibly 60 percent.) Rectal massage and release of tension from the abductors in the prostate area produces an immediate, significant softening of the prostate, as well as a reduction in size. Other therapies may include meditation, silence in the natural environment, massage oils, detoxification, nourishing music, religious literature, laughing.
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