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Prostate Cancer

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With 18,800 new cases diagnosed in 2003 alone - a 30-per-cent increase in the past 15 years - it appears that we have an epidemic on our hands.

With 18,800 new cases diagnosed in 2003 alone - a 30-per-cent increase in the past 15 years - it appears that we have an epidemic on our hands.

But prostate cancer has always been with us. Autopsies reveal that 80 percent of men over the age of 80 have it. Yet most men die with prostate cancer, not because of it.

An Epidemic of Diagnoses

What we have is an epidemic of diagnoses, fueled by the popularity of PSA testing. (When the prostate enlarges, levels of PSA protein in the blood tend to rise.) Unfortunately, many physicians and patients want to jump into treatment at the first sign of an elevated PSA. This is not wise.

Although intervention may be appropriate in younger men and those with highly aggressive cancers, according to Dr. James Talcott, director of the Center for Outcomes Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, more than 75 per cent of all men with prostate cancer don’t need to be treated.

Dr. Talcott and many other experts agree that the first-line therapy should be “watchful waiting,” close monitoring for changes that may require treatment. Swedish studies published in 2002 comparing this tactic with surgery found absolutely no difference in survival rates. Furthermore, the downside of aggressive therapy is not a pretty one - almost half of surgical patients experience impotence and incontinence after surgery.

Watchful Waiting, Active Healing

This doesn’t mean that you should just sit back and do nothing. To improve your health and slow disease progression, avoid saturated fats in red meat and trans fats in processed foods, which stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. Eat cold-water fish, which contain protective omega-3 fatty acids. Include lots of plant foods in your diet, for they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that slow cancer growth. Cooked tomatoes, which are high in lycopene, an antioxidant, are particularly protective, as are leafy greens and beta-carotene-rich produce. Don’t forget soy and green tea, which contain therapeutic compounds that fight prostate cancer.

In addition, take high daily doses of antioxidant, particularly vitamin C (3,000 mg), vitamin E (800 IU), and selenium (200 mcg) as they boost the immune system and may inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. To further boost immunity, supplement with AHCC, a compound that increases the activity of cancer-fighting natural killer cells. And to inhibit the spread of cancer, take modified citrus pectin (a total of 15 grams per day of powdered form).

Remember that a diagnosis of prostate cancer is not a death sentence but an indication of a chronic disorder, like diabetes or arthritis, which in most cases can be managed without resorting to aggressive and invasive measures like surgery.

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