Did you know that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime? There are specific screening recommendations as well as contentional plus more integrative therapies to prevent and treat prostate cancer. Here's what you need to know.
- Men should be screened beginning at age 50 using the PSA (prostate specific antigen - a blood test) and a digital prostate exam.
- If you are at high risk for prostate cancer, i.e. you are African-American or you have a close family member (brother, father) with prostate cancer, you should be screened at age 40 with the PSA and digital prostate exam.
- If your PSA test is slightly high, your doctor may suggest you have a free and bound PSA. They will use the ratio of free to bound to determine if you are at high risk.
- You may also be offered another test on urine called a PCA3 to determine if a biopsy is right for you.
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you will be given a "Gleason Score" which will determine whether you need further testing such as a CT scan or bone scan (to rule out spread of cancer to your lymph nodes or bone. If your Gleason score and PSA are in the low risk category, you may not need further treatment. If high, you may receive hormone therapy or surgery or radiation.
The use of and research on complementary and alternative therapies is very new. Dr. Aaron Katz is the Director for the Center of Holistic Urology and has been involved in research into integrative therapies including a preventive regimen which he outlines in his new book: "The Definitive Guide to Prostate Cancer: Everything you need to know about conventional and integrative therapies" (Rodale Press 9/2011). In my interview with him on "The Vital Life" radio (airing 9/9 on VoiceAmerica's Health and Wellness channel) he discussed some of this exciting research:
- Zyflamend an anti-inflammatory natural supplement used for arthritis may reverse pre-cancerous lesions of the prostate
- Pomegrante extract can help reduce prostate cancer growth and extend life in patients with recurrent prostate cancer
- Vitamin D can shut down a specific pathway of prostate cancer cell growth (See Dr. Katz's article in the Journal of Urology).
- A Japanese mushroom mixture called AHCC helps boost the cells that fight cancer / boosts the immune system
- Diet is key: a plant based diet should be followed. Eliminate red meat, grilled meats. Drink green tea. Decrease fat, eliminate fried foods and sugar in your diet to reduce your risk for prostate cancer. Food high in lycopene such as stewed tomatoes and watermelon also help.
Prostate cancer incidence may be increasing. This is a cancer that can affect your boyfriend, husband or son. Spread the word because prostate cancer may be preventable or curable if caught early!