Dealing with Prostate Cancer by Norman Falconer - HTML preview

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The choice of any specific prostate cancer treatment option depends on a

number of factors.

Some of these include:

your age

your general health

your mental stability

the extent of progress of your prostate cancer

side effects of different treatment options, and

the effectiveness of the treatment options.

It is not easy to make such a difficult decision. You may want to discuss with

your family and friends or get opinions of other doctors.

You may want to talk with other patients and learn of their experiences.

But, it has to be in accord with what the medical fraternity thinks is the best

for your situation.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Treatment options normally depend on the extent of your prostate cancer. If

your prostate cancer has spread to major body parts, radiation or surgery

could be the best options.

If it is in the initial stages, active surveillance may be a good option.

(I) Radiation Therapy

This therapy uses high radiation levels to kill the cancer cells or restrict their

growth with minimum damage to other healthy body cells.

Radiation therapy is of two types:

External radiation with the help of a radiation machine directed at the

prostate and Internal radiation by implanting radioisotopes through thin

plastic tubes into the affected area either permanently or temporarily.

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External Radiation sessions normally consist of five days each week spread

over eight to nine weeks. The radiation therapist would place you in a specific

position on the treatment table. The radiation treatment then starts with the

help of the radiation machine.

You do not feel anything during the treatment. This treatment involves

passing the radiation rays through your body to kill cancerous cells.

Therapists take weekly X-rays or port films to check if the treatment is

addressing the affected area specifically. These X-rays do not provide any

information about the progress of your disease.

Therapists could also mark specific areas on your skin as an identification


Side Effects: Skin exposed to radiation could become swollen, reddish,

sensitive and warm. Sometimes, it could peel around the area. Skin reactions

are temporary and go away after four to six weeks of completion of


Hair loss and increased perspiration are added side effects.

Long-term side effects include enlarged pores, darkening of skin, thickening

of tissue and change in sensitivity levels of skin, urinary problems like

frequency and bleeding and erectile dysfunction.

Radiation therapy could make you feel mildly fatigued, although you can

continue with your regular routine. It is best to plan and pace your activities

and take lots of rest.

Eating nutritious and well-balanced meals can help you overcome fatigue.

(a) 3-D conformal radiation therapy with CT

If your cancer is localized within the prostate, undergoing 3-D conformal

radiation therapy with CT may deliver results that are more precise.

Radiation is from different directions and minimizes damage to normal


This therapy can cause side effects like diarrhea, inflammation of the rectum,

impotence and incontinence.

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(b) Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)

Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) is a very precise and advanced

technique of delivering radiation beams according to the shape and depth of

the prostate cancer.

After completion of radiation therapy sessions, you have to schedule your

follow-up tests and checkups with your doctor.

(II) Radioactive Seed Implants

This is another type of radiation therapy. This is the same as

Brachytherapy. It involves planting of radioisotopes permanently or

temporarily. This is a newer treatment option for prostate cancer. It is

claimed to be as effective as regular external radiation and radical

prostatectomy in ten-year follow-up studies.

Permanent Brachytherapy (Low Dose Rate or LDR)

Your doctor implants around forty to a hundred iodine-125 or palladium-103

radioactive seeds into the prostate gland with the help of an ultrasound.

Implantation is according to a computer-generated plan best suited for your

condition. These implants become inert after a specific period, although they

remain permanently within your prostate. These implants help deliver

maximum radiation within your prostate without affecting other body tissues.

Temporary Brachytherapy (High Dose Rate or HDR)

This involves placing hollow needles filled with iridium-192 into the prostate

for around five to fifteen minutes. Then, your doctor removes the iridium and

the needles.

You undergo two or three similar sessions spread over several days. The

implants remain permanently but they become inert after about ten months.

The entire procedure could take around an hour and a half each time.

This treatment best suits prostate cancer patients with PSA levels lower than

10, Gleason score equivalent or less than six, almost no abnormality on the

digital rectal exam, less aggressive cancer, and cancerous growth restricted

within the prostate.

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Side Effects: These are primarily urinary-related. They include frequent

urination, inability to totally empty the bladder and a burning sensation

during urination.

Diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and urinary incontinence as side effects are very

rare. The impotence rate could be 25% after five years of treatment and

could increase to 50% if you also undergo hormone therapy.

You should restrict prolonged contact with children and pregnant women for

around two months after treatment.

(III) Chemotherapy

This treatment option is specifically for recurrent or advanced prostate cancer

cases. It could also deliver results where hormone treatment has been


Chemotherapy is not for treating prostate cancer in the early stages. The

complete treatment extends for three to six months according to the type of

chemotherapy medications.

The treatment is divided into specific cycles and recovery periods.

Chemotherapy medications are normally given intravenously and rarely

through the mouth. The drugs pass through the bloodstream and reach

cancerous cells anywhere in the body.

This treatment helps shrink cancer cells and may make them disappear


Side Effects: Just as chemotherapy kills the fast-dividing cancer cells, it also kills healthy cells across the hair follicles, gastrointestinal tract lining,

membranes lining the mouth and in the bone marrow.

However, these are temporary side effects and the healthy cells may soon

grow back.

Other side effects include loss of appetite, hair loss, diarrhea, vomiting,

nausea, mouth sores and permanent infertility.

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A low count of white blood cells increases the risks of infection, while a low

count of blood platelets and red blood cells may cause anemic fatigue and

bleeding or bruising from minor injuries.

You can take medications for these side effects according to the advice of

your doctor.

(IV) Radical Prostatectomy

This is surgical removal of the prostate gland with some of the surrounding

tissues. Doctors may prescribe this treatment for men under the age of

seventy without any major health problems if your prostate cancer is


Radical prostatectomy is of two types:

Retropubic prostatectomy and

Perineal prostatectomy

Retropubic prostatectomy: Your surgeon makes an incision in the lower

abdomen to remove the prostate, surrounding tissue and lymph nodes if


The surgeon would locate nerves on either side of the prostate and check if

prostate cancer has spread to these nerves. The surgeon would not remove

them if they are not affected, as these nerves are necessary for an erection.

This will reduce the chances of erectile dysfunction and incontinence after the


The surgery could last two to four hours.

Perineal prostatectomy: With this surgery, the surgeon makes an incision

in the skin between the scrotum and the anus. The surgeon, if necessary,

removes the prostate and some lymph nodes.

This surgery is not very common as it is difficult to use nerve-sparing


This surgery could take a little less time than retropubic surgery.

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Surgery risks involve bleeding, infection and blood clots in your legs that

might sometimes travel to the lungs (Medical staff monitor you for any sign

of clots).

The recovery period for these operations is normally a stay of three days at

the hospital. You may have to stay away from work for around three to five


Surgeons normally insert a catheter through the penis into the bladder

during the surgery. This remains so for ten to twenty-one days to help easy

urination during the recovery period.

Side Effects: These include urinary incontinence and impotence. But, you

may recover normal continence levels within six months of surgery.

(V) Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery

This surgery is done with the help of a laparoscope. This has a special

camera. The surgeon makes small incisions of five to ten millimeters below

the belly and passes carbon dioxide through a small tube. This lifts the

abdominal wall and allows a clearer view through the laparoscope.

The laparoscope transmits a picture of the prostate onto a video monitor.

This surgery is the best option if your prostate cancer is not aggressive and

has not spread beyond the prostate. However, if you have had any pelvic

laparoscopic surgery or undergone hormone treatment for prostate cancer,

you should not opt for this treatment.

This surgery is less invasive, recovery time is less and you need fewer


Chances of infection are very low and your hospital stay is much shorter. You

can go back to work within two to three weeks. The effectiveness of this

treatment option is the same as that of the other operations.

Side Effects: These are similar to invasive surgery; side effects may include

impotence and incontinence. Urinary infections may exist for the initial two to

three months.

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As this technique is comparatively new, there is not enough evidence as to

whether it leads to higher rates of potency.

For around six months, you should refrain from lifting heavy loads or do any

abdominal exercises like sit-ups.

(VI) Hormone Therapy

This treatment involves removal or blocking of hormones to treat prostate

cancer. It is the same as androgen suppression therapy or androgen

deprivation therapy.

This treatment may be effective if your prostate cancer has spread outside

the prostate. It may reduce the progression of the cancer effectively and

offer better survival rates.

In some cases, doctors recommend hormone treatment after surgery for

better treatment of prostate cancer.

The prostate grows further if exposed to the male hormone testosterone and

androgens. Hormone treatment can stop production of testosterone and all

androgens temporarily or permanently.

This treatment can be through injections, pills, and drugs.

Occasionally, it involves surgical removal of the testicles that produce

testosterone. This prevents any further stimulation of prostate cancer.

Sometimes, hormone therapy is used as an effective treatment option

before, during or after local treatment.

The LHRH or GnRH is a luteinizing releasing hormone, and Gonadotropin-

releasing hormone is one of the most important hormones released by the

body before production of testosterone.

Hormone therapy aims at blocking the release of LHRH or GnRH through use

of LHRH agonists or LHRH analogues.

Doctors normally prescribe monthly shots of Eligard, Lupron, Viadur, Trelstar

and Zoladex. In some cases, dosage could be tri-monthly, quarterly or yearly

depending on the aggressiveness of your prostate cancer.

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Most of the cancerous cells in the prostate respond positively after removal

of testosterone. Yet, some cancerous cells grow independently of


Hormone therapy is unable to kill these cancerous cells. So, despite

undergoing hormone therapy, cancer may still spread within your body.

Hormone therapy is not always a very effective treatment option.

But, it may contain and restrict your prostate cancer.


Some men choose to undergo Orchiectomy. This is surgical removal of the

testicles. Since over ninety percent of testosterone production is in the

testicles, removing them can be a good option.

Nonetheless, orchiectomy being a nonreversible and a permanent surgical

solution, many men are adverse to it and opt for drug therapy instead.

(VII) Active Surveillance

Although this is not a treatment option in the strictest meaning of the term,

it is a way of combating prostate cancer.

If surgery or hormone treatments do not seem viable, you can adopt a wait

and watch attitude to follow up your prostate cancer.

However, you still need to undergo PSA and DRE examinations every six

months, with a yearly biopsy.

Your doctors will have to review the progress of your prostate cancer

minutely. If there are any indications of a growing prostate cancer with any

advancing symptoms, doctors would then advise immediate surgery or other

more suitable treatment options.

This technique is a good choice for men with slow-growing cancers or if you

have other serious medical conditions that could shorten your lifespan.

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(VIII) Other Treatment Options

Although surgery, hormone treatment and radiation therapy are the

traditional treatment options available, there are a few less popular

treatment options also. These include:

(a) Cryotherapy: This treatment option has been available for some time but is used rarely. This surgery involves insertion of probes into the prostate

through the perineum and passing of liquid nitrogen or argon gas through it.

This freezes prostate tumors and cells.

However, it can cause serious erectile and urinary dysfunction. This therapy

is the same as cryoablation or cryosurgery. If you have been using hormone

or radiation therapy, this option may not deliver good results.

(b) High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound: This treatment option involves

killing prostate cells with heat. Through this treatment, a probe is inserted

into the rectum through which high-intensity ultrasound waves are delivered.

This treatment option is still in the experimental stages.

(IX) Emerging Therapies

Scientists and researchers are trying to discover newer therapies to

overcome shortcomings of the therapies and treatments in use for prostate

cancer. Often, prevalent treatments destroy existing good cells of the body

and thereby reduce the capability of the overall immune system.

However, the FDA has not yet approved any specific therapy for use in

prostate cancer. Nonetheless, researchers are sure that soon there could be

more targeted therapies for use in treatment of prostate cancer.

They believe that these therapies might offer better results and possibly with

less severe side-effects or no side-effects.

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Coping with Prostate Cancer – The Action Plan

Prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can prove very stressful and

overwhelming. It will be easier if you draft a coping action plan to coordinate

and sustain all these facets.

Coping Help Sources

You and your family can take help from the different sources available. These

sources provide necessary help in a professional and supportive manner.

These include:


Professional and trained counselors can help you overcome your innermost

doubts and tackle difficult feelings. These counselors offer you individual time

and attention. They listen to all your queries patiently and address all

possible consequences of prostate cancer on your life. They can draft suitable

strategies that help you get control over your life and thereby enjoy a better

quality of life. Sometimes, such counselors could prescribe medications to

treat depression.

Social Workers

Social workers offer help and counseling regarding your prostate cancer

diagnosis and treatments. They educate you about possible concerns,

adjusting to lifestyle changes, and refer to national agencies or support

groups. They arrange for temporary lodging and look after all your other


Support Groups

Support groups are made up of people dealing or having dealt with similar

experiences. You can take part in discussions of support groups, meet others

with similar prostate cancer symptoms as you, learn from their experiences,

and understand how they are coping with the disease. This offers an

immense psychological boost that you are not alone in your disease; there

are many others suffering similar feelings and experiences. This gives greater

mental strength to face the situation. However, never substitute your

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doctor’s advice with that of any member of the support group. Follow your

doctor’s advices religiously.

Financial Counselors

Financial factors prove to be a major cause for worry for most prostate

cancer patients. There are financial counselors available through your

hospital, or your doctor can give you the necessary information. Talk and

discuss your financial position and decide about how best you can

accommodate your additional expenses for prostate cancer treatments.

These counselors would offer necessary advice about all financial issues

regarding your prostate cancer treatment.

Gather Information

Try to collect as much information about prostate cancer as possible from

various sources like the Internet, medical journals, medical organizations,

and professionals in this sphere. Collection of information can help you

understand the disease in its entirety and remain prepared for all



Family members and, especially your spouse, will have to play a major role

in your coping plan for prostate cancer.

Take the time to have a frank discussion of all pros and cons of your prostate


You both can visit and talk with your doctor to learn about the possible side

effects of treatments or symptoms.

This helps your spouse prepare to handle any emergencies.


Domestic affairs take a backseat and, often, there could be frequent

disruptions in the regular household routines due to your prostate cancer


Organize help at home.

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You can engage trained nurses at home to help with giving injections,

bathing, administering medications and looking into all your medical


You can engage domestic help to look after regular household chores.

Your spouse would be definitely stressed because of your ailment and

treatments. Having such people to help at home can be a great boost and

stress reducer.

If need be, you can ask your friends or neighbors to give a helping hand.

Personal Strategy

Although these coping strategies may provide an effective action plan to

reduce the effects of your prostate cancer and treatment, you should

maintain a positive attitude and remain optimistic.

Always express your feelings and emotions openly without bottling up your

guilt or grief. Talking over matters makes you feel better and relieves stress

from your body.

This is essential as high stress levels can cause excessive spreading of

prostate cancer cells.

Impotence is a major effect of prostate cancer. This is a very personal matter

for discussion between you and your spouse. Develop and maintain easy and

open communication channels.

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Prostate Cancer Treatment and Stress

The existence of prostate cancer can cause a lot of stress. You may fear

possible consequences, be wary of the selected treatment options and how

effective they could prove to be.

You may be unsure of your future, with the possibility of disability and

financial problems due to your prostate cancer treatment.

Stress due to prostate cancer translates into fatigue, disturbed sleep,

anxiety, body aches and pain, headaches, irritability and tension.

Scientists from Wake Forest University School of Medicine are the first to

have published reports in Science Daily (dated Apr. 11, 2007) that the stress

hormone epinephrine causes changes in prostate cancer cells, making them

more resistant.

Epinephrine levels remain elevated during stressful situations.

Laboratory studies indicate that a specific protein called BAD, responsible for

cell death, becomes inactive if exposed to epinephrine.

Keeping stress at bay is essential to gain the best from prostate cancer


This is possible by having well-balanced and nutritious meals, regular

exercise and getting sufficient rest through proper sleep.

Maintain a positive psychological outlook by developing a positive attitude

and accepting the fact that certain events are beyond your control.

So, brooding and pondering over them only worsens your present situation.

Also, express your opinions in an assertive tone instead of becoming angry,

aggressive or bleakly passive.

You should learn to keep your mind and body relaxed without depending on

drugs or other artificial aids.

Use simple relaxation techniques like listening to music, reading books,

biofeedback, using audiotapes for deep breathing and visualization.

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Practice mind relaxation techniques. You should sit in a comfortable position,

close your eyes and breathe through your nose.

Concentrate on your breathing; making it slow and steady. Do not allow your

mind to wander away; instead, keep it engaged in pleasant thoughts.

Try to keep realistic targets for accomplishments for each day without

overburdening yourself.

Completion of such targets offers a psychological boost.

Share your thoughts and feelings with family and friends.

Joining cancer support groups and mingling with people that have similar

problems and apprehensions can help you understand your situation better.

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How to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can develop due to various factors. There is no clear

evidence to confirm the specific causes for prostate cancer.

It is too early to ascertain which of the prevention strategies are most

effective or deliver best results.

Cancer Tests: Regular screening through PSA and DRE tests can warn you

of prostate cancer. These tests may not be always conclusive, but can offer

an insight into things to come.

Doctors normally advise all men over the age of fifty to undergo these tests


Genetic factors: If you have any direct relatives (father, grandfather, or

brother) with prostate cancer, chances of you contracting prostate cancer are

probably higher than average.

Similarly, if female relatives have breast cancer, you might have a tendency

for prostate cancer in your genes.

Going for regular checkups can help detection of prostate cancer in the early

stages and prevent it from developing into advanced stages.

Race: Prostate cancer is predominant in African-Americans and Europeans.

Asian men record a very low incidence of prostate cancer. Yet, Asian men

immigrating to the western countries show a higher incidence of prostate


Although you cannot change your race, adopting screening techniques is a

good preventive measure.

Diet: A diet rich in animal fat and dairy products may increase your risk of

prostate cancer. Avoid fatty food. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits like

tomatoes and grapefruit. Include more fiber foods, whole-grain foods like

whole-wheat bread and brown rice, and restrict your intake of salt and


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Include omega-3 fatty acids in your regular diet from salmon, mackerel and


Eat phytoestrogens - available through soybeans and similar legumes.

Eat moderate meals and restrict your accumulation of calories.

Green Tea: Green tea contains antioxidants like polyphenols that some

people claim may help to prevent prostate cancer. Some people say that you

can use supplements to reap similar benefits.

Beverages: Some people claim that four to eight glasses of red wine over a

week may lower the prostate cancer risk.

Refrain from alcohol consumption totally or restrict to less than two drinks in

a day.

Sexual Activity: Frequent sexual activity may reduce the risk of prostate

cancer. Frequent ejaculations help flush away toxins and prevent their build-

up in the prostate. This also improves your immune system and offers better

protection from prostate cancer.

It may also relax your mind and lower unnecessary nervous system activity.

Zyflamend and Selenium: Taking selenium supplements is claimed by

some people to perhaps reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Some people claim that herbal supplements like Zyflamend and the intake of

selenium supplements may reduce your prostate cancer risk. They also claim

that these preparations may help to reduce the effects of prostate cancer.

Vitamin D through Sunlight: Regular sun exposure can allow accumulation

of the necessary amount of vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is believed by

some to offer protection from prostate cancer.

However, you must also protect yourself against excessive exposure, as this

can cause kidney damage and hypocalcaemia.

Physical exercises: Maintain a schedule of regular workouts and other

physical exercise. Exercise releases specific hormones that may help with

some effects of prostate cancer.

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None of these factors can guarantee any benefit, let alone complete

immunity to prostate cancer.

Consult your doctor before using any preparation or starting any exercise or

other therapy at all

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There is no substance, treatment or system which is proven to prevent

prostate or any other cancer.

However, many people claim to have found something which they say has

helped them or people they know to reduce their chance of getting prostate

cancer or helped with the effects of the disease.

This section tries to cover many of those reports but I do not endorse any of


Always consult your doctor for qualified professional advice which will take

into account your own circumstances, medical condition and history.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

What does complementary and alternative therapy mean?

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative medicines define

complementary and alternative therapies as diverse health and medical care

services, products and practices that are not the part of the conventional

medicine. These therapies are sometimes used with the conventional form of

medication. Alternative medication is used by some people instead of

conventional medication.

Are complementary and alternative therapies used widely?

Studies of complementary and alternative therapy are inconsistent. There

has been a rise in the percentage of people in the USA that have tried some

form of complementary or alternative therapy from 33.8 in 1990 to 42.1 in

1997. Another analysis states that only 28.9% of US adults had used

complementary and alternative therapy at least once.

What points must be considered before using complementary and alternative


Cancer patients who are considering the use or are using complementary or

alternative therapy must discuss their decision with the physician or nurses,

as they would have done with any therapeutic application. This is essential,

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as there may be some interference from complementary and alternative


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

and National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsoring complementary and

alternative therapy are co-sponsoring or sponsoring different clinical methods

in the study of complementary and alternative therapy for cancer. Many of

these studies are to check the effects of the complementary methods along

with conventional methods.

These include:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is used by some people to try to reduce the

symptoms of colorectal cancer that is in an advanced state.

Combination Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy: This therapy, with

or without shark cartilage is used to treat patients with non-small cell lung

cancer which cannot be surgically removed.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: This therapy is used in patients with a

laryngectomy. Larynx means the voice box and laryngectomy is the process

of removing a part or the entire larynx from the human body.

Massage Therapy: This therapy is claimed by some people to bring relief in

patients who are suffering from the fatigue associated with the disease.

Pancreatic Enzyme Therapy: This therapy and a specialized diet are used

by some people as part of their treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Mistletoe Extract: Along with chemotherapy, this treatment is claimed by

some people to be applicable for people suffering from solid tumors.

What questions should patients ask their doctor or health care provider

before starting complementary and alternative therapy?

Here are few questions that cancer patients should be asking their health

care providers:

What are the benefits I can expect from this therapy?

Are there any risks involved in this therapy?

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Are the benefits enough to outweigh the risk involved?

What side effects should I expect from this therapy?

Will this therapy interfere with my conventional treatment?

Is the complementary and alternative therapy a clinical trial package?

Will my complementary and alternative therapy be covered under the health


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Herbal Treatments for Prostate Cancer

Imbalance of proper diet intake is claimed by some people to have led to the

many chronic diseases we have today.

Herbal systems attempt to balance the body with enough nutrients.

But, there is no scientific study of treatment through herbal treatments.

There are claims of herbal treatments making a difference. However, be very

cautious in your approach about herbal treatments.

Take the medication only after full consultation with your doctor and under

guidance, because there have been reports of side effects such as:

Venous thrombosis, a condition where blood clots in the vein,

Tenderness of breasts and

Decline in the desire for sex.

There is a herbal treatment for prostate cancer derived from the stinging

nettle, an herb.


Cernilton is another herbal treatment that is gaining popularity among the

herbal cure advocates. Cernilton is made out of rye pollen extract, and is

used for treatment of prostatitis and BPH.


Citrus fruits, onions, green tea, red-wine, parsley, and soybeans are rich in

Flavanoids, which have antioxidant properties.


Lycopene is claimed by some people to be good for people with prostate

cancer. Research has revealed that eating cooked tomatoes may help to

reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. Some people claim that if men

consumed ten or more tomato-based meals per week then they may be

forty-five percent less likely to develop prostate cancer.

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Apart from tomatoes, watermelons, grapefruits and guavas are rich in



Pygeum is another popular herbal preparation promoted by many people.

Pygeum is an indigenous African treatment that is obtained from the bark of

the tree. The herbal solution contains DHT inhibiting chemicals, which is

claimed by some people to be helpful when treating an enlarged prostate.

Saw Palmetto

Seronoa Repens, or Saw Palmetto, is claimed by some people to have

therapeutic properties that may help to relieve some symptoms or effects of

prostate cancer. The DHT hormone (Dihydrotestosterone) is responsible for

prostate disorder and Saw Palmetto is claimed by some people to reduce the

DHT production which might help to prevent inflammation of the prostate

and its enlargement.


Selenium is a mineral found in the prostate. The decrease in its level in the

prostate may be a factor in various problems. Foods that are rich in Selenium

are chicken, shellfish, grains and garlic.

Zinc-Rich Foods

Zinc, the mineral, is also found in the prostate. A decrease of the zinc level in

the prostate may be a factor in various complications of the prostate.

Foods that are rich in zinc are clams, lamb chops, wheat germ, whole

oatmeal, oysters, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.


Before you start with any kind of treatment, always consult your physician.

Your physician can provide you the right advice for the best utilization of

herbal supplements in the prevention or treatment of prostate cancer.

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The Immune System and Prostate Cancer

James P. Allison, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and his team

are conducting research to find immunotherapy strategies that could deliver

positive improvements in immunotherapy.

From the team’s experiments on mice, recent reports as of January 10, 2008

indicate that body’s immune system might use a common molecule to

recognize prostate tumors.

This molecule comes from a protein found in all the body cells. Yet, immune

cells respond only if it is present on the surface of cells within a tumor.

Therefore, immune cells in mice can detect prostate cancer. Further, these

immune cells pose a very feeble attack against the tumor.

The specific type of immune cell works through a killer T cell. There are

numerous receptors on each of the cell bristles that can detect a foreign

molecule. As soon as the receptor detects this foreign molecule, it destroys

the specific cell. The killer T cell then replicates and sticks to the same

foreign molecule to destroy it.

Each of these T cells has an exclusive receptor according to genetics and

through a random process. The T cell antigen receptors are fork-like proteins

that recognize molecular signals on invading cells. There can be innumerable

such receptors and there may be different kinds. Distribution of these cells is

random across the body tissue.

However, an intriguing aspect was that the T cells replicated on noticing the


Allison and his team conducted experiments to detect what activated the T

cells. They soon discovered that only molecules from the nucleus activated

the T cells. However, nuclear proteins are not on the surface of the cell and T

cells can only recognize molecules on the surface of other cells.

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Deeper research showed that specific nuclear proteins activated T cells. This

specific protein was histone H4. Such histones are found in large numbers in

the nucleus.

Allison and his team are currently conducting studies to determine if histone

H4-reactive T cells in the blood of prostate cancer patients could be a

diagnostic detector or marker.

This might help to find a way of early detection of prostate cancer in the


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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 58 of 69

Eating Right and Maintaining Good Nutrition

Maintaining good nutrition is essential to help with combating the side-effects

of cancer treatment.

This can give you more energy and you will probably also feel better.

Maintain a Basic Calorie Intake

Maintain the basic calorie needs of your body. If you suffer from cancer and

you maintain a stable weight, then the estimated calorie intake is possibly

about fifteen calories per pound of weight.

If you are losing weight, then you might add five hundred calories every day.

For example, if a person weighs 160 pounds, then the caloric intake of the

person should be 2,260 calories each day to maintain a stable weight.

Take Protein each day

Proteins help the body in repairing and rebuilding damaged body tissue. An

estimated protein intake might be 0.5 to 0.6 grams for every pound of body


For example, a person weighing one hundred and fifty pounds requires

around seventy-five to ninety grams of protein intake per day. Foods that are

rich in proteins are dairy products, meat, eggs, fish and legumes - especially


8 oz of milk


8 grams of protein

One ounce of fish, meat or poultry - 7 grams of protein

Drink Enough Fluids

Drink around eight cups of fluids each day. This is the best way of preventing

dehydration. Fluids can be water, milk, juice, milkshakes, gelatin, broths and

other beverages.

Avoid fluids that contain caffeine or excess sugar.

However, if the treatment’s side effect is diarrhea and vomiting, then you will

need to consume extra fluids.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 59 of 69

Enough Vitamins

If your food is not vitamin-rich, then you may need to take vitamin


Natural sources of vitamins include nuts, olive oil, seeds, avocado oil, non-fat

milk, peas and wheat germ.

Foods that are Rich in Lycopene and Quercetin

These plant pigments promote health and may have cancer-fighting abilities.

Foods that are rich in lycopene are watermelons, papaya, red grapefruit, red

berries and tomatoes.

Quercetin has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that may be

beneficial in reducing the pain of the inflamed prostate.

Foods that are rich in quercetin are green and black tea, apples, onions, red

wine, citrus fruits, raspberries, red grapes, broccoli, citrus fruits, cherries and

leafy green vegetables.

Get a Dietician’s help

A dietician will provide you suggestions to improve your eating. This might

cover taste changes, feelings of fullness and any difficulty in swallowing.

Your dietician can guide you with ways to maximize the calories and proteins.

There are many tips that a dietician may provide you, which may be

beneficial for you and your health.

Nutritional Recommendations

1. Reduce the intake of animal fat. Studies reveal that the intake of excess

fat may stimulate the growth of prostate cancer.

2. Avoid the intake of trans-fats. They are found in baked, fried foods and


3. Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol.

4. Include fresh fish in your diet, especially those which are rich in omega-3

fatty acids. Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are sardines, salmon,

trout and mackerel. Eat them at least 2 to 3 times a week.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 60 of 69

5. Eat more herbs, fresh fruits and vegetables. Colorful vegetables and fruits

may contain powerful nutrients.

6. Avoid high-calcium diets. They may act as prostate cancer stimulators.

7. Avoid high quantity zinc supplements.

8. Eat food that is rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, spinach, berries,

cantaloupe, mango and sweet peppers.

9. Avoid salted foods, pickled and preserved foods.

10. Eat cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli.

They are said by many people to have cancer-protecting properties.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 61 of 69

Prostate Cancer and Regular Exercise

Many times, the result of cancer and its treatment is a decrease in physical

activity. This can result in a lack of energy and tiredness.

Moderate and regular exercise is very beneficial.

Before you start out with your exercise regime, here are few guidelines. If

you keep these guidelines in mind, you will not just benefit with the exercise

but it will also help to prevent complications.

Doctor’s Advice

Before you start with your exercise program, make sure you take your

doctor’s advice, because the doctor will recommend how much or what sort

of exercise is okay for you.

Slow and Steady

Do not suddenly start with heavy exercise. Remember a good exercise

routine always begins with slow exercises. These let your body adjust to the

new routine.

Maintain a Schedule

It is good to maintain regularity. Do not have a long gap between your

exercise schedules. It may be ideal to exercise at least three times a week.

The Right Exercises

The right exercise will not burden you - it will invigorate you. It will not leave

you feeling exhausted, stiff or sore.

If your exercise is leaving you with such feelings, then please modify your

regime, because you may be overdoing or using the wrong exercises.

Most exercises may be safe, as long as you keep in mind the guidelines but

do not overdo it.

Some generally productive and usually safe activities are:


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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 62 of 69

Regular brisk walking

Indoor stationary cycling

Low impact aerobics under the supervision of a certified instructor or as

taught by the certified instructor.

Brisk and Slow Pace Walking:

Exercise comprising of brisk walking stretching thirty to sixty minutes 4 to 5

days a week is beneficial. On the other hand, walking at a slower pace for

forty to sixty minutes, once or twice in a week will bring great benefits.

Maintain Moderation

Prostatitis may be caused by over activity.

Moderation is the key to lowering the risk. Most men who are over the age of

sixty-five should not devote more than three hours to exercise every week.

This may be enough to reduce the chances of dying because of prostate

cancer. Studies have seen a reduction in advanced prostate cancer by

seventy percent in men who exercised 3 hours in a week.


There is no evidence of direct correlation between exercise and the curing of

prostate cancer but most health agencies recommendation for the prostate

cancer patient is to focus on both diet and exercise.

Regular exercise is usually beneficial for your prostate.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 63 of 69

Prognosis of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the cause for most number of deaths in the US after lung

cancer. There have been various research studies into the prognosis of

prostate cancer and many are still going on.

It is not possible to predict the exact outcome of prostate cancer, your

responses to treatment, chances of cure and other concerns.

Doctors find it difficult to give specific survival chances unless they have the

individual’s full history and current test results.

Prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer and many factors affect its

progress. This is one of the main reasons that doctors are unable to predict

its outcome.

But, there are certain factors that can help you provide a guideline or an

overall view of the state of your prostate cancer:

Your age and general health can affect prostate cancer treatments.

The stage of your cancer can explain how far your prostate cancer has

spread or affected other body organs. This gives an insight into survival and

recovery chances.

There is no clear evidence between PSA levels and the progress of prostate

cancer. Normally, high PSA levels indicate advanced prostate cancer.

It may also be one factor in deciding the treatment options. But, sometimes,

PSA levels remain low although you have prostate cancer. This is because

these cancer cells mutate excessively and do not make PSA. This type of

prostate cancer is very aggressive and can spread fast.

So, PSA levels may not provide a clear picture and you should discuss

different diagnoses with your doctor to understand your prostate cancer.

The Gleason score shows the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. This is

useful for deciding suitable treatment options.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 64 of 69

Recurrence of prostate cancer can offer higher recovery chances if prostate

cancer recurs only within the prostate.

Prognosis of Prostate Cancer Stages

(I) Early Stages: If your prostate cancer is in the early stages, survival

rates are excellent with cure rates of 98% in most cases. This is because

prostate cancer grows and spreads very slowly and treatment may cure you


(II) Advanced Stages: Prostate cancer in the advanced stages could be

within more divisions like:

(a) Locally Advanced: Your prostate cancer has now spread outside the

prostate to nearby regions. Yet, survival chances may be very good and can

extend to many years in most men.

(b) Metastasized Cancer: In this stage, your prostate cancer has spread to

distant organs of your body and your survival chances may not extend

beyond one to three years.

In some cases, men survive beyond this while more men die of other causes.

(c) Recurrence: Sometimes, after undergoing prostate cancer treatment,

you could experience a relapse. If the cancer is still within the prostate, it

may be curable. If however, the cancer has spread beyond, it might be best

to go for hormone treatments for better survival chances.

But, chances of another recurrence are high.

Survival Rates

Survival rates for prostate cancer differ widely. The published survival rate

indicates the percentage of patients living a specific number of years after

diagnosis of the cancer.

The ten-year survival rate indicates 93% while it is 77% for fifteen-year

survival rate.

Beyond this, survival rates remain better stabilized.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 65 of 69

If you are diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer, your survival rate can

extend to over twenty years after diagnosis.

However, if you are diagnosed with a severe form of prostate cancer, your

survival chances may be less than a decade after diagnosis.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 66 of 69

Prostate Cancer – Frequently Asked Questions

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer refers to

unrestricted growth of cancerous cells within the prostate gland. This could

slowly spread to lymph nodes and bones.

What is advanced prostate cancer?

Advanced prostate cancer is the same as metastatic prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer that spreads beyond the prostate gland into lymph nodes,

nearby tissues, bones or other body parts is called advanced prostate cancer.

How common is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common non-skin cancer affecting

American men. There is a new prostate cancer case every 2.5 minutes.

Prostate cancer affects every sixth man. Every nineteen minutes, a man dies

of prostate cancer.

Does prostate cancer afflict elderly men more?

Yes. With increase in age, men show a greater risk of developing prostate

cancer. Statistically, more than 65% of prostate cancer cases are men over

the age of sixty-five. Under the age of forty, prostate cancer affects only 1 in

10,000 whereas the rate goes up to 1 in every fourteen for men between 60

and 69.

Is there a cure for prostate cancer?

Cure rates for prostate cancer vary. Normally, most prostate cancer cases,

almost ninety percent of them, are in the local and regional stages. Many

such cases may be disease-free within five years.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer in the early stages has almost no symptoms. Very few men

experience urinary difficulties like higher frequency, urination with burning

sensation, hesitant urination, pain in the back, stiffness in the legs, and

difficulty in having an erection. As these symptoms may be indicative of

other diseases also, you need to undergo a thorough check-up.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 67 of 69

Are specific men at a higher risk for prostate cancer?

African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are

at a higher risk of prostate cancer. If your direct relatives like father,

grandfather, or brother have prostate cancer, you have a higher risk of

developing prostate cancer. If one of your direct relatives has prostate

cancer, your risk chances are doubled. If there is more than one direct

relative with prostate cancer, your risk chances are four times higher. Such

high-risk men should undergo annual PSA and DRE tests.

Does prostate cancer make a man impotent?

Most prostate cancer treatments carry a high risk of impotency. Newer

therapies and research are offering increased effectiveness of treatments

without loss of potency.

There are further medical options available for regaining sexual potency.

Is it possible to father children after prostate cancer treatment?

Prostate cancer is normally diagnosed in elderly men, by which time you

would have fathered children. Newly developing detection techniques can

now detect prostate cancer in young men in the early stages.

However, a clear and frank discussion with your doctor before starting with

prostate cancer treatment is advisable.

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 68 of 69

A Reminder from Norman Falconer.

I was motivated to write this book after a friend died from prostate cancer.

His illness and the trauma and ongoing problems which it caused to his

family could perhaps have been prevented if he had accepted the temporary

discomfort of being tested.

So, please discuss your potential risk with your doctor and get tested.

Do it now.

Norman Falconer 2008

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"Dealing with Prostate Cancer" by N Falconer Page 69 of 69

Another eBookWholesaler Publication

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