There are almost certainly some natural cures for prostate cancer which can help some people, especially those in the early stages of this insidious disease.
Here is a detailed look at one natural treatment (a vegan diet) which has had some recent interest in scientific circles - and some success with real patients. It's worth noting that a vegan diet is also thought to be particularly good for the planet as it generally far more sustainable than a heavily meat based diet - read on below for more on that.
There is also some information below the main article on other possible natural cures for prostate cancer.
Always consult your physician before embarking on any radical change of diet or supplementation.
Prostate cancer is a quite common and affects men from around the world and in all walks of life. It is potentially life-threatening, as with most cancers and even for those whose prognosis is good, it can have a good many debilitating and unpleasant symptoms.
Some of the symptoms can include painful or difficult urination and problems with erectile dysfunction and ejaculation.
In the United States, almost 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and around 25,000 die from it. In the UK around 35,000 men are affected each year. It is the second commonest cancer after lung cancer in both countries and accounts for around one quarter of all new cancer diagnoses in men each year, according to Cancer Research UK.
It is interesting to note that the incidence of prostate cancer tends to be far lower in less developed countries. The reasons for this are complex and no doubt in part owing to the longer lifespan achieved in the west. But it raises the question as to whether this is yet another case of a "disease of civilisation" - one caused, in part, by our fondness for a fatty, sugar-laden junk diet.
A high proportion of men over the age of 80 have the disease but as it is often slow-growing, it is not always treated. It mainly affects men over 50 and there are some aggressive and fast-growing types which can devastate the lives of those affected.
Traditional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy are usually employed to treat sufferers. A few doctors are now treating those with early signs of prostate cancer with a radical new approach: veganism.
In 2005 Dr. Dean Ornish at the University of California’s Department of Urology began to study the effects of a vegan diet on men with early stage prostate cancer. He also advocated a regime involving moderate excercise. The levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood significantly decreased in those men taking part.
One theory as to why this effect occurs is that the men on the vegan diet had far lower levels of blood sugar than men on more average diets. It is believed that relatively low blood sugar levels may play a part in retarding some cancer growths. The modern western diet tends to be high in sugar (glucose) and other studies have supported the view that cancers may be in part triggered by excessive dietary sugar.
Dr Ornish's patients were taking part in a classic randomised study where 50% of the men observed had conventional treatment and conventional diets. All the men who were on the vegan diet - the other 50% - had no other treatment beyond extra vitamins and plant nutrients such as lycopene (from tomatoes).
It seems that just a vegan diet and moderate exercise may be sufficient to cure or delay or hold back early stage prostate cancer.
It is probably wise for anyone afflicted with this terrible disease to pursue all avenues of recommended treatment, in consultation with their physician. However, it is clear that anyone who wants to avoid this and other cancers would be well advised to try a vegan or near vegan diet.
It also seems likely that combining a vegan diet with regular exercise and conventional therapy, or surgery, those with advanced stage prostate cancer are more likely to make a good recovery.
Mark Scholz, MD and Ralph Blum studied prostate cancer and came to the conclusion that insulin production had an important part to play in its development (PCRI Insights February 2006 vol. 9, no. 1). Insulin is over-produced in people who consume too much sugar in all its forms. A low GI (Glycaemic Index) diet is therefore recommended.
They based part of their study on the case of Thomas Mueller, a Los Angeles attorney who adopted a strict macrobiotic diet when faced with prostate cancer at the age of 45. He has held his prostate cancer in check by maintaining his quite strict diet. He not only abstained from meat but also avoided oils, sugars, dairy foods and most fruit.
Interestingly, the incidence of prostate cancer in men with adult onset diabetes is low. This is because the sugar in the blood of diabetics is unable to enter their cells normally, so the sugar does not act upon the cancer cells in the same way.
Dr. Ornish’s study would tend to suggest that a vegan diet may prevent men from developing prostate cancer. While most people may not want to adopt a fully vegan diet, a good deal can be done by reducing dramatically the consumption of meat and dairy foods. A macrobiotic diet, as adopted by Thomas Mueller, tends to be very low in meat and avoids dairy foods. A little fish is eaten by most people who adhere to a macrobiotic diet.
Diets which are high in animal fats - from both meat and dairy foods - have been linked with many types of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer.
Diets which include a lot of fruit and vegetables have a preventative role to play. It is thought that a vegan diet may decrease the chance of an individual getting prostate cancer by around 80%.
Of course, it is possible to have a diet which is both high in fruits and vegetables and also quite high in meat and animal fats. The best compromise is certainly to reduce the proportion of animal fat in your diet substantially if you want to avoid this sinister disease.
This is also recommended from a green living perspective: intensive meat production accounts for a huge and increasing proportion of the world's climate change gases. One study even claims that over 50% of climate change gases can now be attributed to farming and food production (Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, 2009). A more conservative estimate is around 18% - still a substantial amount.
Many people will quail at the idea of replacing hamburgers and fries by a tofu burger and salad. Fortunately, there are a number of faux meat products on the market that may help make veganism practical.
Morningstar and Boca faux meat products are sold in most supermarkets in the US. In the UK there are a number of veggieburgers and other meat replacement convenience foods. I can't claim to be a great fan of most of them. Quorn and tofu are both OK in my book but TVP (textured vegetable protein) is both indigestable and unappetising! It's far better to explore the wonderful world of beans seeds and sprouts for alternative protein sources.
For anyone who dislikes cooking, or just does not have the time, www.gobblegreen.com delivers vegan foods ready to eat to your door. There must be other companies which supply vegan foods by mail order. Sprouted beans and cooked bean dishes are also widely available in supermarkets.
Check out hummus, falafel and foul mesdames for great vegan convenience foods.
Here is a very brief resume of other possible natural cures for prostate cancer. This is a very big subject and the information presented here is just a very brief overview.
If you are considering trying natural cures for prostate cancer please do your research thoroughly and always consult your health professionals before embarking upon any course of treatment.
Other possible natural cures for prostate cancer include energy medicines and nutritional therapy.
Of course, people promoting natural treatments rarely claim to be able to cure cancer, as individual cases may resist any treatments, both alternative and conventional.
There is some interest in saw palmetto (Serenoa serrulata) as a possible cure for prostate cancer. However, the evidence is far from established and indeed some doctors are concerned that its use may reduce PSA without destroying the cancer. Saw palmetto is often used for treating benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) i.e. non cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.
See this article by physician Arnaldo F. Trabucco, M.D of St. Johns Hospital, Elmhurst, NY, for more about this possible cure for prostate cancer: Saw Palmetto Warning : Problems with Detecting Prostate Cancer?
Possible Natural Cures for Prostate Cancer:
Vitamins and antioxidants
Here are some details of clinical trials of vitamin E and carotene in relation to prostate cancer: Select trials
The results of several trials were inconclusive; it is possible that supplementation with vitamins is too crude a method of achieving the best balance of nutrients. While some patients benefited, others appeared to be harmed by the vitamin E supplements.
Lycopene and resveratrol have both received some attention as possible cures for prostate cancer - or as beneficial and preventative nutrients.
Lycopene is found in tomatoes in abundance and reservatrol is found in grape skins - and red wine. Both can be bought as supplements. Both are potent antioxidants.
Low levels of selenium consumption may account for some cases of prostate cancer. Selenium is found in grains, fish and meat.
Saw palmetto is also a good natural source of vitamin A and selenium, as well as other nutrients such as zinc.
It is worth noting that all the nutritional elements mentioned above are all supplied abundantly by a good vegan diet or a diet rich in natural fruits, grains, seeds nuts and vegetables.
It is interesting to note that dairy consumption was also associated with a 50% increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
If you or anyone you know is affected by prostate cancer please take professional advice from your physician or other qualified health professionals. Natural cures for prostate cancer, where suitable, are best applied under the care of a physician or qualified health professional.
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