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 What Doctors Don't Tell You: QUESTIONS FROM READERS - PROSTATE CANCER 
 
What Doctors Don't Tell You © (Volume 4, Issue 12)
Q:My husband, who is 63, was told several months ago that he had prostate cancer. I am giving my husband various homeopathic remedies. We have been vegetarian for 10 years, so we have boosted our fruit and vegetables, raw and juiced, and we have f

As a remedial yoga teacher, I have encouraged my husband to return to yoga daily, to tone the muscles and bladder and also prepare the body for surgery, if it is essential, and also to undertake regular relaxation and meditation.

All these suggestions I have acquired over the years from you, the Bristol Cancer Help Centre and various other sources.

I have a distrust of surgery and, failing any advice from the hospital, we are using anything that might possibly help. I was therefore interested in your article (WDDTY vol 4 no 10) on the low incidence of prostate cancer in Japan due to the consumption of soya products. Where do we go from here? E C, Isle of Wight.....

A:We're sorry to hear of your troubles. The commonest form of cancer for men over 40 concerns the prostate, the gland which lies just below the base of the bladder, which produces some of the seminal fluid. Because it is so close to the bladder and urethra, problems in this area invariably cause problems in urination.

Although the incidence of prostate cancer hasn't really gone up, aggressive treatment like radiation and surgery have by a whopping 36 per cent.

Researchers from the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences, Hanover, New Hampshire, writing in The Lancet (29 January 1993), examined nine cancer registries throughout America, plus data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics. Their results, titled the SEER programme (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) found only a modest increase in prostate cancer incidence between 1983 and 1989 (attributed mainly to increased attempts at detection of early stage disease). There was no increase in the types of cancer that spread and can be fatal. Nevertheless, the study found that the rates of prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) increased by nearly 35 per cent per year, and varied greatly from area to area.

Nevertheless, as this and other studies show, all this aggressive cutting doesn't seem to make the slightest bit of difference to survival rates.

This and another recent study in the medical press add to the other substantial evidence proving that conservative treatment of early prostate cancer that is, maintaining a watchful wait and see attitude, and using other forms of therapy, such as hormonal treatment, rather than rushing into surgery could be the best course, particularly in older men. This is largely because prostate cancer can be, in the main, a slow growing form of cancer. Furthermore, according to autopsy studies (The Lancet, 13 February 1993), a third of men in the European Community have prostate cancer, but only 1 per cent will die from it.

As the SEER study put it: "Increasing use of radical prostatectomy in men over 70 is especially troubling, since these patients are relatively unlikely to die of their prostate cancer before other causes take their lives."

In another recently published American study, Dr Gerald Chodak and his colleagues at the Prostate and Urology Center, University of Chicago Hospitals in Chicago also concluded that a policy of "watchful waiting", and the use of conservative treatment (delayed hormone therapy to shrink the cancer), rather than aggressive intervention such as surgery and radiation, may be the best option for men with early stage prostate cancer, especially if their life expectancy, because of their age, is 10 years or less (New Eng J Med, 27 January 1994).

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What Doctors Don't Tell You What Doctors Don’t Tell You is one of the few publications in the world that can justifiably claim to solve people's health problems - and even save lives. Our monthly newsletter gives you the facts you won't......more
 
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