Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland, a walnut sized gland surrounding the urethra (the duct through which urine is passed) just below the bladder.
Prostate cancer is most common in men over the age of 40, and is rare in younger men. By age 60, one man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world (but, fortunately, not the highest mortality rates).
In New Zealand, over 3000 men per year are registered with prostate cancer and 600 men die from it (Ministry of Health New Zealand).
First step is a Prostatic Specific Antigen test (a blood test) and the physical exam, known as the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). The DRE is performed by a doctor while the patient lies down on their side or on their stomach; the doctor slips on a pair of disposable gloves and examines the size and hardness of the prostate by inserting a finger into the rectum. The prostate can be felt through the rectal wall. It is important to have the DRE, however reluctant you may be, because a man may have a normal PSA but still have aggressive cancer nodules.
If the findings are cause for concern, ie the PSA is above 3 (for a man aged in his 50’s) and the prostate feels hard and enlarged, the GP will refer you to a specialist for further investigations.
If you have results that may indicate prostate cancer, consult the specialist the GP refers you to.
Complementary medicine can produce some promising results, either alone or in conjunction with the conventional medicine pathway, depending on the person and on the cancer itself.
Either way, treating the person and the environment in which the cancer lies is of utmost importance for the best outcome. This will include lifestyle, exercise, diet and selected supplements.
Goals may include management of insulin sensitivity, detoxification, low body fat and increased muscle mass. This will be delivered by dietary and lifestyle advice.
Exercise six days a week – this will be a combination of walking/aerobic exercise and weight or resistance training.
Meditation / mindfulness or positive thinking. There is a lot of research which shows that managing stress, whether conscious or sub-conscious stress, is effective in reducing cancer markers. This is because stress fosters inflammation in the body, and inflammation is one of the triggers for cancer.
Diet: reducing or avoiding red meat, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes and increasing chemoprotective foods and spices such as tomato, turmeric, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli will be discussed. Your practitioner will cover this in depth with you.
Vitamin D, folic acid and sulphurophane are among the supplements that may be relevant. Some herbal medicine may also be appropriate and effective, and may be prescribed for you, depending on your own individual needs and other medications taken.
Your naturopaths at Holden Healthcare are well-qualified and experienced practitioners who practise compassionate healthcare and can offer you a health plan going forward from diagnosis.
We look forward to being included in your healthcare team!
Senior Naturopath, Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist
Prostate image creative commons licensed from Wikimedia.