May 31, 2012

PSA Screening

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

I read a recent update on prostate cancer screening this week. Let’s look at PSA screening in light of recent research results. Then we can see how preventing prostate enlargement and cancer is your best plan of action.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently put out its latest recommendation on prostate screening. It essentially says that routine screening of men, at any age, is worthless. Why? They say the harms outweigh the benefits! While a few may benefit, many more are harmed.

A PSA (prostate specific antigen) that is elevated tells you only one thing, the general size of the prostate. A high PSA does indicate enlargement, but it gives you no clue as to why. There are no good tests to differentiate between those who need treatment for cancer, and those who don’t. Therein lays the conundrum.

The new guidelines are based on two major trials. They found nearly 90 percent of men whose ‘cancer’ was found with screening will undergo a major form of treatment. The problem is that when biopsies of these men are performed, only 25% actually find cancer, and of the 75% that are negative, a full one third actually does have the cancer that was missed. How do you like those odds?

Most cases of prostate cancer do not occur until after 50 years of age. One in six men will get prostate cancer if you live long enough. The real numbers to look at here are that by getting a PSA test, you reduce your risk of dying of it from 3 percent to 2.4 percent, simply negligible numbers. What you really do by getting a PSA screen is increase your risk of an up sell by your doctor into unnecessary treatment, pain and possibly death. By getting a PSA screen you are more than twice as likely to be ‘diagnosed’ with cancer, receive a lot of unnecessary treatment, and yet have little if any prospect of decreasing your actual risk of dying from it! Swell huh?

Many medical doctors are simply rejecting and ignoring the latest data on this subject. I guess they know better than actual studies of their diagnosis and treatment methods. Sure, any study can be made to show anything you want. But when they are done by medical doctors themselves, with no motives other than best practices, how can you argue? The data doesn’t lie, only the interpreters sometimes do.

The major complications from the poison, burn and cut treatments, are urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, and radiation burns to the rectum and other tissues so severe as to cause death. Biopsies pose a serious risk of infection, because those little needles transport bacteria into the prostate and/or blood stream. NPR reports that at the recent annual meeting of the American Urological Association, there were ten specific reports on this phenomenon. They are very worried about it, and you should be too.

So what is a man to do? Well, first off, don’t go for the screenings. You’ll save yourself a lot of mental anguish, not to mention reduce your risk of dying from unnecessary treatment.

Secondly, you need to start preventive eating and supplements earlier than in your 50’s.

Thirdly, the recommendation by the task force to ‘watch and wait’ seems pretty fatalistic to me. Why not try some of these great proven preventive practices?

Eat prostate healthy foods rich in antioxidants, vitamin, astaxanthin and lycopene.  Broccoli, tomatoes and green tea are a few examples. Use Saw Palmetto, with active organic extracted oils. Dr. Mercola says that fewer than 1 in 20 brands have this critical oil. Optimize your vitamin D levels. Where have you heard that before? Add a vitamin K2 supplement. Increase your exercise level, which includes more sex. Also check your testosterone levels as you age. Contrary to popular belief, maintaining high levels of testosterone prevents cancers, and does not promote cancer.

What can you do if you really do have prostate cancer? If it was me, I would be looking at sodium bicarbonate therapy. Sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, is deadly to cancer cells. It is a chemotherapeutic agent! It gets the ph above 7.4, where cancer cells become dormant, and at a ph of 8.5, they die. It also absorbs heavy metals, dioxins and furans which are found in higher concentrations in cancer tissue. You can increase body ph orally to some degree, with enemas (for intestinal cancer, too) and intravenously, directed at the tumors arterial supply, wherever the tumor may be.  There are alternative medical doctors out there who perform this sort of treatment; you just have to find one.