What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer
Julian Whitaker, MD
A couple of years ago, I was in New York City. As I was walking around Times Square that evening, I glanced up at the electronic news ticker and read in huge letters: “Studies confirm the benefits of prostate cancer surgery.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had read through the results of these studies just that day, and they confirmed no such thing! They clearly stated that even in patients with large prostate tumors, surgery conferred no overall benefits in life expectancy. Even worse, it virtually guaranteed impotency and urinary dysfunction.
I began to wonder who put the spin on this research to come up with such an obviously inaccurate assessment and splash it across Times Square. Let me tell you the real story.
Prostate Surgery Won’t Save Your Life
The media frenzy was generated by a pair of Swedish studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine that followed 695 men with large prostate tumors for an average of 6.2 years. Half of the men were randomly assigned to undergo radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate), while the other half were assigned to “watchful waiting” (close monitoring of the prostate for any changes that may require treatment). The first study calculated the two groups’ mortality rates, and the second measured their quality of life.
Over that six-year period there was a 50 percent reduction in death from prostate cancer among the men who had surgery. Sixteen of the 347 men who had surgery (4.6 percent) died of prostate cancer, compared to 31 of the 348 in the watchful waiting group (8.9 percent).
However, there was an increase in other causes of death in the surgery group, possibly associated with the surgery. So overall there was no difference in life expectancy. The researchers concluded that “…current evidence indicates that radical prostatectomy, as compared to watchful waiting, has little or no effect on overall survival…”
Calculating Quality of Life
When life expectancy rates are the same for both options, prostate cancer treatment decisions should be based on quality of life concerns. According to the second study, both groups reported comparable levels of distress or satisfaction with the side effects of their treatment. But here is where statistics fail us. Let me explain.
Eighty percent of the men who had surgery suffered from erectile dysfunction, compared with only 45 percent in the watchful waiting group. In addition, almost half of the surgical patients were incontinent, versus only 21 percent of the watchful waiters. Only one symptom was more common in the watchful waiting group: urinary obstruction (weak urinary stream), affecting 44 percent versus 28 percent in the surgery group.
Many surgery patients with erectile dysfunction and urinary leakage rated those symptoms as distressing. Conversely, many watchful waiting patients with urinary obstruction rated that symptom as distressing. So technically, when researchers compared the numbers, the two groups’ distress levels appeared about even. Statistics aside, however, I am confident that most men would rather have a weak urinary stream than suffer from impotence and incontinence.
What Does It Mean?
I contend that these studies only confirm what I have been saying for a decade: Prostate cancer surgery is ineffective in prolonging life and should be used only when the cancer causes significant obstruction or other serious debility. This is especially true since even conventional medicine offers effective, less invasive treatment options such as external-beam radiation and hormonal therapy.
Yet mark my words. Even though these studies looked only at large, easily identifiable tumors, inaccurate interpretation of this research will be used to scare men with small tumors into surgery.
While You’re Watching and Waiting
If you have prostate cancer, you can boost your health and slow the progression of the disease through simple lifestyle choices and targeted supplements.
Avoid saturated fats in red meat and trans fats in processed foods, which stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. Eat lots of cold-water fish, which contain protective omega-3 fatty acids. Fill up on plant foods. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that slow cancer growth. Cooked tomatoes, which are high in lycopene, are particularly protective, as are leafy greens and beta-carotene-rich yellow and orange produce. Be sure you include soy in your diet, for it contains several therapeutic ingredients that fight free radicals, stimulate the immune system, and counter the negative effects of hormones.
Try These Cancer-Fighting Supplements
Take high doses of antioxidant supplements, particularly vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium, as they boost the immune system and inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.
To further boost immunity, try AHCC, a mushroom extract that increases natural killer (NK) cell activity. To inhibit the spread of cancer, I recommend modified citrus pectin (MCP). MCP halts metastasis by filling adhesion receptors on cells and preventing cancer cells from latching on and taking root. And to turn off the molecular switches that promote cancer cell growth and turns on those that inhibit growth, I would suggest looking into AminoCare A-10, a unique and very effective product developed by Stanislaw Burzynski, MD.
If your prostate cancer has metastasized to the bones or other organs, I recommend you visit Dr. Burzynski’s clinic in Houston, Texas, and get started on antineoplaston therapy. Antineoplastons are natural compounds that shut down the growth of cancer cells at the genetic level. Dr. Burzynski has successfully treated a number of different types of cancers, but has had particular success with brain tumors, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and prostate cancer.
- If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, talk to your urologist about your options. Make sure you discuss quality of life issues as well as longevity issues. Be prepared for vigorous endorsement of drugs and surgery.
- We do not treat cancer at the Whitaker Wellness Institute. However, we do help people who have cancer with nutritional support and immune system enhancement. To get more information, call (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- The supplements discussed in this article can be found in health food stores or ordered by calling (800) 810-6655.
- For more information on the Burzynski Clinic, located in Houston, Texas, visit cancermed.com or call (800) 614-2400.
- Steineck G et al. Quality of life after radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(11):790-6.
- Holmberg L et al. A randomized trial comparing radical prostatectomy with watchful waiting in early prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(11):781-9.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.