Chapter 2.24- Prostate Cancer
In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of Prostate Cancer.
The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.
This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available as a download on this website.
Table of Contents
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download
Table of Contents
- ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT
- PROSTATE CANCER
- CONVENTIONAL APPROACHES
- TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Issues and Answers
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Watchful Waiting
- BIO-ENERGETIC THERAPIES
BODYWORK AND MOVEMENT THERAPIES
- Nutrition and Supplements
- Enzymatic Therapies
- Rainforest and Western Herbs
- Rainforest Herbs
- Western Herbs
- Homeopathic Remedies
- Essential Oils
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
- Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Hatha Yoga Postures
- PRODUCT ORDERING INFORMATION
- GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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The prostate is a doughnut-shaped male sex gland, positioned beneath the urinary bladder. It encircles the urinary outlet, or urethra. It is about one and a half inches wide and surrounds the urethra, a tube that carries urine and semen out of the body.
The prostate's function is to help make semen. The process starts in the testicles, where sperm is produced. During ejaculation, sperm are propelled up through the vas deferens to the prostate, where a mix of fluids and enzymes are added before they leave the body.
The following tests are used to screen for prostate cancer:
- The DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) is used to feel for lumps or hard spots in the prostate.
- The PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test is a blood test used to detect the likelihood of cancer.
A PSA of 0-4 is considered normal; 4-10 abnormal, suspicious for cancer; higher than 10, very suspicious for cancer. High PSA levels can be caused by factors other than cancer, including benign enlargement or inflammation of the prostate, an activity as innocuous as bicycle riding, or even the rectal exam itself. If a man's PSA level is found to be high, the test should always be repeated, because it does yield false-positive or false-negative results an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the time. Having the test repeated every year may help a physician to better interpret the results; in healthy men, PSA levels tend to remain relatively stable, rising only gradually from year to year, while cancer causes the levels to rise more dramatically.
Ultrasound scanning of the prostate is often done to follow up on an abnormal rectal exam or PSA test. Other diagnostic tests, including computerized tomography (CT) scans, bone scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be necessary, but are costly. Ultimately, if test results point consistently to the presence of cancer, a tissue diagnosis must be done to confirm it. This can be done only by microscopic examination of a needle biopsy, preferably directed under ultrasound control. Repeated biopsies may be needed in some cases. This invasive procedure may itself cause complications. Bleeding, urinary retention, impotence, and sepsis ("blood poisoning") have been reported.
Biopsy of the Prostate
If either the Digital Rectal Exam or PSA test is abnormal, a biopsy of the prostate may be recommended. The easiest way to access the prostate is through the rectum. A probe with a thin needle is inserted to obtain tissue samples that can be examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. Usually several tissue samples are taken at one time in order to collect cells from different areas of the prostate.
The Gleason Score is a numerical rating (2 to 10) of the cancer as determined by microscopic examination of the prostate tissue. It is a way of assigning risk to the cancer (e.g., 2 could grow the slowest and 10 is likely to grow the fastest). If the disease is caught early, treatment for prostate cancer is usually successful.
Staging the Cancer
A bone scan or other imaging technique is sometimes used to further assess the growth stage of the cancer. The terms used to describe the stages of cancer are:
- Stage A (or T1) is early prostate cancer. Cancer cells are present but have yet to form a mass that can be felt.
- Stage B (or T2) means that the cancer is still confined to the prostate, but it has grown and perhaps spread within the prostate.
- Stage C (or T3 or T4) indicates that the cancer cells have spread outside the prostate to nearby tissue.
- Stage D (or N or M) is late stage cancer when cells have metastasized to other parts of the body far from the prostate.
In most cases prostate cancer grows slowly. If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, however, it is difficult to treat and cure. Unfortunately, prostate cancer can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Many cases are diagnosed only after the cancer has spread outside the gland. Once the cancer has spread to the gland's capsule, the survival rate over the next 5 years is about 40%. If the disease spreads to the lymph nodes, bones, or other organs, the chances of survival drop to 20%.
Take the time you need to explore your treatment options and choose what is right for you. Most likely your urologist will work with your internist or family physician to coordinate your care. If you are deciding between radiation or surgery, you may want to consult with both a surgeon and a radiation oncologist before you make your decision. During those consultations, make sure to ask the following question: "What side effects might I experience with the treatment?" You may want to evaluate your overall health at this point in time. Recent research suggests that a low fat diet (and maintaining normal cholesterol levels) may be beneficial in slowing the growth of prostate cancer.
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Glossary of Terms
- A procedure to remove a sample of tissue so it can be examined for the presence of abnormal cells.
- Cryotherapy (or Cryoablation)
- Treatment by freezing with cold liquid. Cancer cells rupture as they begin to thaw.
- DRE or Digital Rectal Exam
- An examination that is done by a doctor inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for lumps or hard spots in the prostate.
- Hormone Therapy
- A treatment that involves altering the natural hormonal balance by blocking the hormones that stimulate cancer cells in order to slow cell growth.
- The inability to maintain an erection.
- Leakage of urine or feces that cannot be controlled.
- The spread of cancer from the initial site to other places in the body.
- A walnut-shaped gland located in the male pelvic region that supplies fluid and enzymes to semen prior to ejaculation.
- PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
- A substance made only by prostate cells, both normal and cancerous. Levels tend to be higher when cancer is present. Infection of the prostate can also cause elevated PSA levels.
- Radiation Therapy
- Treatment with X-rays to kill cancer cells.
- Radical Prostatectomy
- Surgery to remove the prostate gland.
- Seed Implantation (or Brachytherapy or Interstitial Radiation Therapy)
- Radioactive "seeds" placed within the body; implantation can be temporary or permanent.
- A doctor whose specialty is treating conditions of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive system.
- Watchful Waiting A
- n approach that does not initiate treatment but carefully follows the progress of early-stage prostate cancer by monitoring periodic test results. Most commonly used with older men.
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