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Studies Show Unnecessary Medical Intervention Common for Prostate Cancer

Do you suffer from prostate problems? Don't allow your doctor to push unnecessary treatments. These natural methods are just as effective without the risk.
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Do you suffer from prostate problems? Or maybe you even currently have prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the leading cancer in men after skin cancer. It is estimated that 1 out of every 6 men have prostate issues. Because of the prevalence of the cancer, there are many treatment options for the cancer. However, studies about the treatment methods have shown surprising results.

A recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association in October, 2013 has showed some surprising facts about radiation treatments for prostate cancer.

Radiation treatment is used in some cases of prostate cancer after the cancer has spread to the bones. Radiation helps control pain and helps to prevent the spread of cancer outside the prostate. For certain kinds of prostate cancer, radiation is used before cancer spreads to the bone and surrounding tissues to help control and stop the growth of tumors. The study showed that while many men receive as many as 10 radiation sessions for prostate cancer, there is no added value in receiving additional treatments. In fact, one radiation session showed the same amount of effectiveness as multiple treatments. The general effectiveness of external beam radiation therapy for men with stage 2 and stage 3 prostate cancer shows an average mortality rate of between 11 percent and 24 percent within 10 years of the treatment date, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Study Details

The Journal of the American Medical Association study indicated that radiation treatment is overused in many cases of prostate cancer. The study looked at Medicare claims data for over 3,000 men, which showed that only about 3 percent of men receive a single radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Over half of the men received 10 or more treatment sessions. A past study from 2005 indicated that a stronger single dose of radiation (8 Gy) is as effective as 20 Gy for 5 treatments or 30Gy over 10 treatments. According to the study, some patients may require additional treatments if their cancer is advanced and has spread to the bone and surrounding tissue. However, multiple treatments are only necessary for about 10 percent of cancer patients.

Significance of the Study

This study shows some surprising facts about radiation treatment and what is recommended for prostate cancer patients. This data has been around since 1990, so it is surprising that so many doctors still recommend multiple treatments. And although many people believe that radiation therapy is designed to kill cancer cells, radiation treatment is typically prescribed to prostate patients as a pain-control method only. This form of radiation is not designed to kill cancer cells. This study highlights the importance of researching all treatment methods and risks associated with each treatment method before undergoing any treatment method. Prostate cancer is one of the slowest-growing and non-lethal forms of cancer, and over-treating the issue may lead to additional problems rather than helping control the disease. Doctors may not always offer the best treatment option with their first suggestion. With prostate cancer, it is doubly important to make sure you take the best course of action to protect your health.

Is Prostate Cancer Really Dangerous? 

According to the National Cancer Institute, when cancer is confined to the prostate only, the prognosis is usually good. Even advanced forms of the cancer have a long-term survival rate that lasts 5 years or more. However, if prostate cancer spreads to other areas of the body, the survival rate is typically between 1 and 3 years. There is no medical cure for advanced-stage prostate cancer. This is one reason why most curative forms of treatment are only used for stage 1 and stage 2 prostate cancers. Other factors that influence the survival rate of someone with prostate cancer are outlined below. 

Factors that influence cancer strength

 

  • PSA levels
  • Patient’s health
  • Patient’s age
  • Gleason score
  • Serum acid phosphatase levels

While prostate cancer can be dangerous if it progresses beyond the prostate, survival rates for localized prostate cancer are high- even without the eradication of the tumor. In fact, only about 10 percent of men with prostate cancer actually die from prostate cancer. Most die from other issues, such as heart disease.

Conventional Treatments for Prostate Cancer

There are several treatment methods used for prostate cancer in addition to radiation pain management, as outlined by the National Cancer Institute.

Wait-and-see

The first option for treating prostate cancer is the wait-and-see approach. Since prostate cancer has a low mortality rate, this option may be enough for some men. Typically, this treatment method is prescribed to older men that are suffering from other health issues. In these cases, the side effects of the treatment may cause more issues than they resolve. According to one 1994 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 828 men were given no treatments until their disease progressed. Then they were given hormone therapy when symptoms worsened. Patients using this method had a survival rate of 87 percent, which is about the same survival rate as the general population in the same age group.

Radical prostatectomy

Radical prostatectomy is the number one conventional treatment used to cure prostate cancer. It is often combined with pelvic lymphadenectomy. This surgery is designed to remove tumors from the prostate and eliminate the cancer. Often after surgery, patients also go through radiation treatment. In one study comparing the results of the wait-and-see approach with the RP treatment method (The Prostate Intervention Versus Observation Trial), after 10 years, the RP study mortality rate was about 5.8 percent and the wait-and-see survival rate was about 8.4 percent. A 2013 study published in the BJU International Journal indicated that for prostate cancer patients with a Pathological Gleason score of 8 or above, that the survival rate after 10 years was 49.6 percent. The study looked at 580 prostate cancer patients treated with RP and pelvic lymph node dissection between 1988 and 2010.

External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

EBRT is the second option for treating prostate cancer with the aim of curing the disease. According to data from the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), this treatment method is most effective in patients with rising RSA levels. With doses ranging from 60-65 Gy, the average PSA remission rate is 70 percent for a duration of between 25 to 67 months.

Interstitial implantation of radioisotopes

Interstitial implantation of radioisotopes is a small implant device that emits low-level radiation to the area. The results of treatment are similar to radical prostatectomy and EBRT, which means it is able to reduce 10-year morbidity rate by a few percent. Typically, this treatment method is used for T1 and T2a tumors. The main benefit of this treatment is that up to 92 percent of men maintain sexual potency, rather than the 60 percent using EBRT treatment. However, there have been few long-term studies to determine the effectiveness of this study over a period of 10 or more years.

Hormone therapy

In some prostate cases, the medication 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor is used as a hormone therapy to prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is responsible for enlarging the prostate. The use of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are controversial as a treatment for prostate cancer. Ultrasound Right now, some studies are investigating the benefit of using high-intensity-focused ultrasound waves to treat prostate cancer. This treatment method is used only for T1 cancer, as it is not considered a treatment aggressive enough to fight widespread cancers.

The Effectiveness of Medical Treatments for Prostate Cancer

Looking closely at the conventional treatments for prostate cancer shows surprising results. Many of the treatments for prostate cancer show little benefit to the patient. The side effects of prostate cancer treatments can cause a lot of health issues in the body, ranging from sexual dysfunction to urinary problems. Even without treatment, the survival rate for prostate patients are high if the cancer remains localized.

Proven Natural Methods for Preventing and Treating Prostate Cancer

So, if you don’t want to deal with the dangerous side effects of prostate cancer treatments, or you want to reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer in the first place, what can you do? Luckily, there are many natural methods that have been proven to reduce a person’s risk for getting prostate cancer as well as treatments that are effective at reducing tumor size and curing cancer naturally. Try these strategies if you are facing prostate cancer or have a history of prostate cancer in your family.

Bee propolis

Curing cancer with bee propolis sounds like a stretch, but according to a 2012 study from The University of Chicago, it might be possible. In the study, mice were given Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), and extract of bee propolis. The dose created an inhibition for Akt-related protein signaling networks, which significantly inhibited the growth of prostate tumors.

Saw palmetto

Web MD cites saw palmetto as one possible alternative treatment for prostate cancer. Saw palmetto is a powerful antioxidant that has been showed to slow the growth of an enlarged prostate and bring it back to a normal size. There have been no studies testing the effectiveness of the berry on prostate cancer tumors. It is best used as a preventative measure.

African plum tree bark extract

According to Web MD, saw palmetto is most effective when taking in conjunction with African plum tree bark extract. This extract does not shrink the prostate, but it does help with associated urinary symptoms, such as getting up multiple times to urinate, and other bladder problems.

Turmeric

Turmeric contains the ingredient curcumin. According to a 2012 study conducted by the German university Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, it may just help fight prostate cancer. Taking a supplement of curcumin prevents metastases in patients with prostate cancer. In the study, mice with prostate cancer were given doses of turmeric. The researchers found that, "Due to the action of curcumin, the tumor cells synthesize smaller amounts of cytokines that promote metastasis. As a consequence, the frequency of metastasis formation in the lungs is significantly reduced, in animals with breast cancer, as we showed previously, or carcinoma of the prostate, as demonstrated in our new study."

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)

The reishi mushroom has long been used in Asia as a health food. Many studies have linked the supplementation of the mushroom with a reduction in cancer symptoms, tumor growth, and tumor migration. A 2004 study from the Methodist Research Institute indicated that supplementing with reishi mushrooms induced apoptosis of PC-3 cells. The study indicated that the mushrooms could be used as a treatment for cancer of multiple types, including prostate cancer. A 2002 study from the same institute indicated that the mushroom can inhibit invasion of breast and prostate cancer cells.

Zinc

Zinc acts just like the hormone treatment 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It helps block the conversion of testosterone in the body into the prostate-enlargeing hormone DHT. Zinc can help fight the risk of getting prostate cancer by keeping it at a healthy size and preventing excessive growth.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is also a testosterone-conversion-blocking substance. Vitamin B12 can help promote healthy testosterone function in the body to keep the prostate at a normal, healthy size. Vitamin B12 is also known for its breast cancer-fighting abilities, which has been linked with the same causes as prostate cancer. 

Vegetarian diet

It has long been suspected that a vegetarian diet can help reduce the risk of any type of cancer in the body. One study from 2012 published in Cancer Management Resource looked closely at the link between a vegetarian diet and a reduction in cancer risk. According to the data from the study, a primarily vegetarian diet showed a reduction in cancer risk of about 10 to 12 percent. Results come from a study of over 500,000 people. Diets high in processed meats showed slightly elevated risks for cancer of any type.

Other Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Prostate Cancer

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer is to ensure you avoid risks for any kind of cancer. Whether medical professionals are into natural cures or not, all agree that a healthy diet full of vegetables, fruit, and lacking in processed foods is proven to help lower cancer risk. Other factors, like frequent exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding cancer triggers will also help reduce your overall risk for prostate cancer. Try avoiding these substances and eating the following foods rich in cancer-fighting ingredients:

Avoid these cancer-causing substances
  • BPA
  • Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Smoking
  • Processed meats
  • Conventionally-grown meats

Eat these foods to reduce your cancer risk

  • Tomatoes
  • Pomegranates
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Fish
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Liver

Defeating or Preventing Prostate Cancer

In life, there are no guarantees. Your risk of getting prostate cancer varies with several factors, including genetics, family history, diet, lifestyle, stress levels, and even a little luck. There is no way to absolutely ensure you will never get prostate cancer. However, if you implement the above steps, you will find that not only will your general health improve, but you will reduce your chances of getting prostate cancer significantly. And even if you do have prostate cancer, eating the right foods and living a lifestyle conducive to lowering your risk of cancer will help you manage your cancer and prolong your life. Many natural supplements have been proven as effective, and even more so, than many conventional treatments.

Prostate cancer may be one of the most prevalent forms of cancer, but it does not have to ruin the rest of your life. There are plenty of treatment options to ensure you live the longest, healthiest life you can.

Sources


http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/prostate/HealthProfessional/Page4#Section_1834

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/10/08/radiation-therapy-overused-in-advanced-prostate-cancer-study-says http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11114.x/abstract

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/454283-overview http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22562408

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