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Prostate Cancer

Published by Dr. Jennifer Nardella

Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men and is the third leading cause of mortality from cancer in men. 1 in 7 men in Canada can be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and 1 in 28 men in Canada can die from prostate cancer in his lifetime. More men will die with prostate cancer, than from it. Inflammation is promoted by the hyper-methylation of gene promoter: GSTP1. The activation of this gene promoter prevents carcinogen detoxification and therefore causes carcinogen accumulation. Most cancers develop in the peripheral zone (the area of the prostate closest to the rectum).

There are 3 major risk factors in developing prostate cancer.

1. Age – Incidence of prostate cancer increases largely with age. Most men in their 80s and 90s, when autopsied post-death, will have prostate cancer, even if it went undiagnosed. If diagnosed prior to 65 years of age, the man has a higher chance of developing prostate cancer, than if it was detected after that age.

2. Ethnicity – Higher incidence in African American men.

3. Genetics – Inheriting BRCA mutations can increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
There are also other risk factors for developing prostate cancer. A diet high in fat, red or processed meats, or dairy products can increase the risk of any cancer due to obesity risk and inflammation from these foods. Prostatitis, pesticide exposure, cadmium and/or rubber manufacturing, exogenous and endogenous androgen and xenoestrogens (e.g. BPA) exposure, prior vasectomy and sedentary lifestyle are additional risk factors. Low nutrient levels of Vitamin D, E and Selenium can also increase the risk of prostate cancer.

If there is a 1st degree relative with cancer, the risk of getting prostate cancer can DOUBLE.

Screening for prostate cancer at the Nardella Clinic in Calgary involves a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) starting at 50 years of age. If any abnormalities are suspected, then a Transurethral Ultrasound (TRUS) is performed to check the prostate for BPH. Additional tests for screening prostate cancer include: PSA, PSA velocity and Free/Total PSA ratio. Cancer can only be definitively diagnosed through a biopsy.

Studies are showing that a new test  – PCA3 – is effective in diagnosing cancer or can at the very least help a patient decide if they want to go through with a biopsy. PCA3 is Prostate Cancer Gene 3. This test measures PCA3 mRNA in a urine sample collected by a patient. The PCA3 test requires a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) in order to massage the prostate and mobilize the PCA3 mRNA molecules into the urine for collection right after. First-urine must be collected for accurate results. Both PCA3 and PSA mRNA is measured in the urine sample and a ratio of the two is reported. There is a cut-off value, which determines whether a patient is at high, low, or intermediate risk of prostate cancer. Treatment is then recommended accordingly.

Naturopathic Oncology Approach to Prostate Cancer

Contrary to popular understanding, there are various forms of prostate cancer, all of which can be approached from a slightly different perspective. The Calgary Nardella Clinic’s Naturopathic Oncology treatments for prostate cancer vary from person to person, but the fundamental concept remains the same – to stabilize the cancer.

Treatment includes certain dietary changes that can prevent fueling of prostate cancer growth. Intravenous therapies include high-dose vitamin c and artesunate. These are proven therapies to break cancer cells by impacting their metabolism and growth. IV vitamin C creates free radicals to kill cancer cells. Artesunate affects iron metabolism within tumor cells. Using these two therapies together yields better results than using one alone. Specific oral supplementation can be used to prevent further growth of prostate cancer cells.

Depending upon the staging of the prostate cancer, various therapies can be used to help with treatment. Like breast cancer, prostate cancer can also be a candidate for hormonal therapy (there are various conventional treatments available) and this may change your Naturopath’s approach to helping you through recovery.