Bill's Experience with Prostate Cancer

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 As we males get older Prostate Issues start to loom larger.  They come as:
1)  Enlarged Prostate (frequent urination)
2)  Elevated PSA levels
3)  Prostate Nodule
4)  Prostate Biopsy
5)  Prostate Cancer
Each of these is separate issues that are often not related which makes all of it confusing.  I had low PSA count, no enlargement, a healthy non-meat diet, excellent weight and yet still contracted an aggressive form prostate cancer.  This page is meant to share what I learned. 

Although I never had enlarged prostate issues, my brother has been dealing with this for years.  Over the years he has tried dozens of herbal prostate supplements and found a few that he thinks works best.  In general it does take about a month of herbal usage to get results as the herbs beneficial qualities build up in your system.  His currently recommended herbal formula is made by Carlson and is called
 Nutriment Prostate Formula.
I use a number of Carlson products and consider them top notch.

The use of PSA testing has some controversy,  A recent study has found PSA screenings did not significantly reduce prostate cancer deaths.  This information is really confusing because prostate cancer is curable if discovered before it spreads out of the prostate.  PSA (prostate specific antigen) shows up in the blood stream in greater amounts as we get older and can be released into the blood from certain exercises (bicycling) or even sex.  Prostate cancer does causes increased amounts to show up.  Therefore the primary thing to watch with PSA testing is what is known as PSA velocity or how fast are the numbers increasing.  Although the rate of PSA increase is an indicator of increased levels of prostate cancer, some aggressive prostate cancers release only small amounts of PSA.  It all makes the PSA test important but un-reliable. 

Once we males hit the age of 50 it's time to start getting DRE's (digital rectal exam).  Although prostate cancers can form without any detectable hard nodules and if a hard nodule does form in the prostate it has a good chance of being cancerous.  This is a simple test that can be done by your primary physician.  Two years before my surgery, my primary physician found a small pea size prostate nodule.  At the time my PSA was a very low 0.7.   Generally the PSA level of concern is 4.0 or greater but some consider this number should be reduced to 2.0 but as I mentioned before it's the PSA velocity that is important.  Generally when a nodule is found the next step is to biopsy the nodule.   I waited two years to biopsy it because of my low PSA.

The prostate biopsy is done in the urologist office.  The urologist will insert a needle sampling and sonar head into your rectum and gather 4 to 12 samples of your prostate through the walls of your rectum.  It sounds awful and it certainly is uncomfortable but was over in ten minutes.  After wards you have to suffer with blood in your urine for a week and blood in your semen for up to a month.  A friend of mine suffered through a nasty infection from it even though he used the recommended anti-biotic and his results were all negative.  Although my urologist recommended a biopsy at my first visit, I decided to watch and wait since my PSA was so low at 0.7.  Over the next two years my PSA climbed to 1.1 and then to 1.7.  My nodule also increased in size.  During that time I became a strict vegetarian to minimize my cancer risk but I did not take any special herbal or supplement prostate formula's.

I finally agreed to a biopsy in January of 2009 based on the PSA and nodule increase.  In February I learned that all the samples of the nodule were cancerous and more critical they were an aggressive type.  Aggressiveness of prostate cancer cells are ranked by a 1 to 5 scale know as the Gleason score.  The higher the number, the greater the aggressiveness of the cells.   The Gleason score is the 1-5 number of the greatest concentration of cells added to the 1-5 number of the next largest group of cells.  My number was a 4 + 3 = Gleason 7.   Not good.

There are a few foods that appear to increase the risk of prostate cancer.  They include red meat fat and dairy fat.  In addition there are studies that found increased prostate risk as the amount of calcium consumption increased.  There is also an association between increased prostate cancer and exposure to chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

Orientals tend to have much lower rate of prostate cancer until they move to the west and then they tend to have similar rates which implies that diet is the reason.   Some researchers think it is the higher consumption of soy based foods while other researchers are concerned that soy based foods will raise male estrogen levels which can increase cancer risk.  This conflicting information made me avoid consuming too much soy based foods.  I would suggest only moderate amounts of minimal processed soy products.

India has only 1/10th the prostate cancer compared to the US.  Studies have found turmeric to be a strong cancer fighter.  The curcumin in turmeric appears to be the potent ingredient.  I would certainly include this in an anti-prostate cancer program.  However curcumin is poorly absorbed.  There is noe product called Curamed by Terry's Natural that has much high absorption and has been used in the clinical trials with success.

Italians have lower prostate risk.  The lycopene in tomatoes has been found to be an anti-cancer agent.  The absorption of lycopene in the tomatoes is greatly enhanced if the tomatoes are eaten with oil.  I would suggest drinking an organic tomato or tomato based vegetable juice in the morning with a high quality fish oil sold by Carlson or Barleens??  These fish oils have almost no fish taste and they provide tremendous cardio-vascular and other benefits.

The French also have lower prostate cancer risk as well as for other cancers.  Researchers consider the resveratrol in red wine is the reason.

  When I learned of the aggressive nature of my prostate cancer I began the interviewing process with surgeons and a radiation doctor.  Radiation is more suited for older patients.  If you have surgery you can still use radiation but if you use radiation you can't follow-up with surgery.  For me radiation was not a good choice.  In Philadelphia we have two top surgeons who use the new DiVinci robotic method.  I had my prostate removed by the robotic method.  The surgery went smoothly however if I had it over again I would have tried to find a surgeon who would try to save the nerves that lay around the outside of the prostate that effect your sex life.  It takes very special skill to save these tiny nerves and most surgery does not.

The big part of the recovery involves learning to use a small weak muscle at the base of the bladder to control your bladder.  It gives you a whole new appreciation for what women go through as you experience the same effect when you laugh too hard or strain at anything.  I was fortunate that I was able to retrain that small muscle and get back to normal after about a year.  There are special exercise's that I did that helped.  Anyone who has bladder issues should do them.  The book is "Beyond Kegels" by Janet Hulme from Phoenix Core Solutions.  Now my PSA is at 0 so I'm very fortunate.

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