It’s been drilled into our heads for years by the media that regular prostate cancer screenings are the way to catch, treat and cure prostate cancer, but two recently released randomized trials shatter those theories concluding that the miniscule benefits of screening may be more destructive than constructive.
A review of the trials published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians reports that since the emergence of prostate cancer cells is almost inevitable as men age, the medical community should not make it a goal to find and diagnose more prostate cancers. In fact, no major medical groups (including the American Cancer Society) currently endorse routine screenings for men at average risk for prostate cancer.
Another large-scale, long-term study conducted by researches from the National Cancer Institute found that regular prostate screenings have no effect on the risk of death from the disease.
Prior to the emergence and popularity of the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test in the early 1990s, men in the U.S. had an 8.7% chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and the risk of dying from the disease was just 2.5%. By 2005 the chance of diagnosis more than doubled to 17% and the risk of dying rose to 3%. Routine prostate cancer screenings have not helped save lives!
A computer modeling study using the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registries found that 1 in 4 prostate cancers detected in white males and nearly half of cancers detected in black males were over-diagnosed in the U.S. In a similar model using European data, researchers estimated prostate cancer was over-diagnosed in patients 50% of the time! This is incredibly alarming because those diagnosed with clinically insignificant tumors have now been labeled “cancer patients”.
Besides the psychological harm imposed on these patients and their families, this can also hinder their ability to be hired at a new job and increase the cost of their health insurance or life insurance premiums. Plus those men were likely subjected to unnecessary diagnostic testing and treatment such as biopsies, surgery, external beam radiation, and radioactive seed implants (called brachytherapy); treatments which can lead to a decline in sexual function, urinary incontinence, rectal irritation and impotence. A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that new side effects from radiation treatment on early-stage prostate cancer can first appear as far as 6-years post-treatment.
Because most prostate cancers are slow-growing, many men die of other causes before experiencing any symptoms associated with an active cancer. PSA testing and biopsies cannot determine whether a cancer is slow-growing or aggressive, however, the biopsy could cause further problems by actually increasing the PSA. Poke a hornet’s nest and see what happens, leave it alone and you will likely be fine. This is called watchful waiting.
Because prostate cancer cells typically spread so slowly you have time to find alternative options to surgery and radiation. If you are worried about prostate cancer, get a PSA blood test from someone like our clinicians who do the testing without reporting any diagnoses to your insurance company and will not immediately refer you to an oncologist if the numbers fall outside the clinical markers. If the number is high, don’t panic. There are many other reasons it could be elevated including benign prostate enlargement, inflammation, infection, age or race. We have seen several men in our office with elevated PSA’s and prostate cancer whose numbers have stabilized and even come down using all natural therapy. Always try the safest and most natural methods first.
There are many non-invasive treatments which studies show are effective:
- A 1996 study at the University of Arizona found that men who took 200 micrograms of selenium daily for about seven years had 63% fewer incidences of prostate cancer.
- Cut out the dairy – researchers at Harvard found that men consuming large amounts of dairy had a 32% higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Low iodine levels in the breasts, ovaries, thyroid and prostate glands predispose you to higher cancer risks.
- Regular ejaculation can reduce your risk of prostate cancer by up to 33%. This boosts your T3 and T4 lymphocyte cells which fight off foreign invaders like cancer cells.
- Vitamin D boosts the immune system and has many anti-cancerous effects.
- Prostaglan by Progressive Labs is a combination of natural ingredients which can help alleviate benign hypertrophic prostatitis (enlarged prostate).
Before trying the above suggestions, get a complete nutritional analysis to determine exactly what your body is lacking. Once these imbalances have been corrected, take the PSA blood test again and see what happens.
PROSTATE CANCER AND STATINS
The use of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. A study conducted earlier this year at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the long-term use of statins appears to increase the risk of prostate cancer for obese men. Statin drugs inhibit body processes which in turn can affect cell signaling pathways, cell growth, cell apoptosis, cell proliferation, inflammation, oxidative stress, angiogenesis and metastasis all of which influence cancer cells in some way.
For obese men, the study found that the current use of statins was linked to a 50% increased risk for prostate cancer and steady use for 5+ years increased risk levels to 80%.