Statistics show that one in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, but only three percent will die from it. Even though prostate cancer isn’t a death sentence, the “c” word is always frightening. Sadly, many oncologists capitalize on this fear and propel patients into aggressive treatment, even when their risk is low.
In a study published in the July 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that 75 percent of men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer either had surgery to remove their prostates or radiation to treat it. These findings exemplify a lack of awareness and understanding of both patients and physicians. Most appalling, this study highlights conventional medicine’s unwillingness to even consider more conservative treatment options.
Know the facts
When it comes to current treatment paradigms, there’s no sure winner. Studies suggest that for newly diagnosed, localized prostate cancer, there is no evidence that surgery is more effective than radiation, or vice versa – and both have dreadful side effects. And, in terms of life expectancy, particularly for older men with less aggressive cancer, neither therapy has proven to be superior to “watchful waiting,” or simply observing disease progression.
This is why I believe that relying solely on the blunt tools of conventional oncology puts patients in jeopardy, particularly patients with low-risk cancer. This is especially true because natural therapies with a proven track record for treating and preventing prostate cancer do exist.
Slow progression with lifestyle changes
Men who opt for watchful waiting rather than yanking out the prostate or frying it with radiation should be proactive. They need to work on slowing advancement of the disease, and a number of noninvasive, safe approaches have been shown to do just that. First and foremost are lifestyle changes.
In a study of 93 men who elected to forgo conventional treatment, one group started on a vegetarian diet, nutritional supplements, moderate aerobic exercise, yoga or meditation and weekly support sessions. The control group did not make any changes.
After one year, the prostate-specific antigens of the men in the lifestyle group decreased, while those of the control group increased. Furthermore, the men who adopted lifestyle changes had eight times more tumor-inhibition activity. Six men in the latter group had to undergo conventional treatment due to disease progression.
Build a sturdy supplement foundation
The supplements used in the study above included vitamins C and E, selenium, fish oil and soy – and with good reason.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute reported that men with the highest blood levels of vitamin E were nearly half as likely to develop prostate cancer as those with the lowest levels, and significant protection has been found for other antioxidants as well.
Population studies suggest that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids (which are found in fish oil) and soy reduce cancer incidence, and a study from Japan demonstrated that men who ate the most soy isoflavones (90 mg per day) had a 58-percent reduction in prostate-cancer risk.
Suggested daily doses, taken in divided amounts, are: 600–1,600 IU vitamin E; 1,000–2,000 mg vitamin C; 200 mcg selenium; 2–8 g fish oil, along with 2–3 servings of soy a week.
Modified citrus pectin prevents cancer from spreading
Cancer that’s confined to the prostate gland is rarely problematic. Only when it metastasizes, or spreads, does it become life-threatening. That’s why, while these supplements are a great starting point, if I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I would consider expanding my supplement program. I would start by adding modified citrus pectin.
Metastasis begins when small colonies of cancer cells clump together, adhere to healthy tissues, and release chemicals that form new blood vessels. This process, called angiogenesis, gives cancer cells a supply of oxygen and nutrients that allows them to rapidly replicate and invade other areas of the body.
Modified citrus pectin directly interferes with angiogenesis and metastasis. One recent study looked at a marker called antigen doubling time, or the time it takes for the antigen level to double – the faster the antigen doubling time, the more aggressive the cancer. In this study, 70 percent of men with prostate cancer who took 15 grams of modified citrus pectin daily for one year had a significant decline in antigen doubling time.
Modified citrus pectin also enhances activity of natural killer cells, which destroy cancerous cells. It can also remove carcinogenic heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, from the body. The brand I recommend is EcoNugenics’ PectaSol-C.
More proven prostate protectors
A number of other supplements also help protect the prostate:
- Lycopene: This substance, found in tomatoes, other red fruits and vegetables, and in Low-Sodium V8 juice, is very helpful – especially when used in combination with other nutrients. I recommend drinking 8-12 ounces of Low-Sodium V8 juice each day and incorporating cooked tomato products into your diet.
- Pomegranate juice: In a recent study, UCLA researchers discovered that drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day extended antigen doubling time from 15 months to four and a half years.
- Flaxseed: This dietary supplement contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as compounds called lignans that modulate hormone metabolism, inhibit angiogenesis and fight free radicals. To reap its benefits, consume a quarter cup of freshly ground flax every day.
- Vitamin D: An ever-growing body of research positions vitamin D as one of our most powerful cancer-prevention agents. I suggest having your blood level tested and taking enough supplemental vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) to bring it to the optimal range of 40–60 ng/mL.
- Low-dose naltrexone: Though it isn’t a “natural” solution, low-dose naltrexone is a safe and inexpensive prescription drug that results in often-dramatic improvements. If I had cancer of any kind, I’d immediately start taking low-dose naltrexone. The suggested dose is 3–4.5 mg per day, taken at bedtime. It works best in men who have not undergone hormone treatment. For more information, go to www.lowdosenaltrexone.org.
Therapies for advanced prostate cancer
If you have advanced prostate cancer, more intensive therapy may be required. An excellent source of information on alternative cancer clinics is the Cancer Control Society at www.cancercontrolsociety.com.
For most men, prostate cancer is a chronic, slow-growing condition that can be managed and lived with. If you’re diagnosed with this disease, weigh your options, don’t rush into anything and consider trying these natural therapies. Remember, you’re much more likely to die with prostate cancer, not because of it.