In the cases of breast and prostate cancer, many times false positives occur in the testing methods which lead to over treatment and unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or other drugs prescribed by the oncologist. Further, prostate cancer returns 25% of the time after surgery or radiation therapy. Why does this happen? First of all, radiation itself is carcinogenic. Secondly, surgery and radiation only deal with cancer tumor cells and do not deal with cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are a type of CTC or circulating tumor cell and are the origin of cancer at the cellular level. If cancer stem cells are not evaluated and addressed, a person has a high possibility of developing cancer in another area or the same area of their body.
Today, we are going to focus on prostate cancer and the PSA test. If some men are not receiving an accurate prostate cancer diagnosis, this is devastating and has far reaching consequences. In fact, heart attacks and suicides double after men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer. What if a man commits suicide after receiving a false positive for prostate cancer? This is horrific. Further, prostatectomy or radiation treatments can lead to serious side effects such as impotence and/or incontinence.
85,000 of the 100,000 American men who go through radical treatments for prostate cancer DO NOT need these treatments either because they do not have cancer or because it is not life threatening! Only 15% or 1 out of 7 men diagnosed with prostate cancer are truly at risk. New research is demonstrating that there is a variety of prostate cancers that are not life threatening and that can be monitored without immediate, radical treatment. Also, studies estimate that 23-42% of men with prostate cancer detected by PSA tests have tumors that will not be symptomatic in their lifespan. Finally, of the 50,000 men who have prostatectomies each year, over 40,000 are unnecessary! This is outrageous!
Prostate cancer is slow growing and slow to spread, so men with a potential diagnosis of prostate cancer from the PSA test have time to research other options and receive more extensive testing. However, most oncologists will only do the PSA test and a blind biopsy before recommending treatment options. This is a highly flawed approach.
PSA testing is so flawed that it has been recognized as such by governmental agencies and medical associations. In 2013, governmental agencies and medical associations decided to not encourage PSA testing for any man. In 2012, the United States Preventive Service Task Force recommended that doctors stop PSA testing in healthy men.
However, this does not mean that there is no benefit at all to the PSA test. There is some benefit. For every 1,000 men who receive the PSA test, one prostate cancer death is prevented. However, 85% of men are still over treated. PSA testing thus is a good initial test, but further testing must be done to find more information about the nature of the potential cancer.
PSA means protein specific antigen which is a protein released by prostate cells into the bloodstream. It is normal to have around 4 ng/ml of PSA in the blood of males. Prostate cancer cells release more PSA than normal cells, thus a PSA above 4 ng/ml may indicate prostate cancer. However, the PSA levels can be elevated because of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) and an infected prostate (prostatitis). Other reasons for an elevated PSA test are: an orgasm within 48 hours of the PSA test, riding a bike or another activity which places pressure onto the prostate gland, or lab error. Further, PSA levels naturally elevate as men age. Thus, don't panic if your PSA test comes back high, ask for possible explanations and pursue other testing options to confirm any potential cancer diagnosis before you agree to a treatment that may not be necessary.
Many times, a biopsy is recommended after an elevated PSA test. The major problem is that a blind biopsy is done in the prostate and 20% of prostate cancers are missed. Some doctors end up taking 20-30 prostate samples, but this can cause other problems such as escaping CTCs. There are several other concerns with jumping straight into a biopsy. First of all, prostate biopsies can result in an infection or bleeding that can result in death. One in 1,000 men die because of a blood infection from a biopsy! Second of all, a biopsy can cause cancer cells from the prostate to escape and spread to other areas of the body, leading to CTCs or circulating tumor cells which may result in tumor metastasis.
There is a new type of biopsy called the targeted biopsy. This is able to be done by the use of a DCE-MRI or a dynamic, contrast enhanced MRI. This type of MRI allows the doctor to be able to see inside of the prostate gland to identify where the biopsy needle needs to be targeted. However, further testing of the potential for prostate cancer could be done prior to a biopsy so that infection and the spread of CTCs can be avoided.
A Trans-Rectal Ultrasound or TRUS should also be done in order to see if an enlarged prostate has anything to do with an elevated PSA score. A PSA test between 4-10 ng/ml would be in a low-risk group, 10-20 ng/ml are in the intermediate risk factor, and anything above 20 ng/ml would be in the high-risk group.
What are some other options for testing prior to a biopsy? I am going to share three potential options in addition to the PSA test. This is not completely comprehensive as there are some other great testing methods for cancer that I will talk about in the future, including CTCs, nagalase, and the Greece test. In some holistic clinics, you can receive a full body thermography scan. Thermography testing is based upon heat and can detect cancer. Most often used for breast cancer, thermography can be used as well as a full body scan. Not all clinics provide the full body scan. Thermography is based upon the fact that active cancer cells rely heavily upon angiogenesis, or the development of new blood vessels in the tumor. The scan will pick up on the heat patterns and detect the potential formation of a tumor years before a mammogram detects these changes and without the potential side effects. 10% of those diagnosed with breast cancer were caused by mammograms.
The University of Michigan Health System offers a urine test called the Mi-Prostate Score or MiPS. The PSA test and MiPS test together were found significantly more accurate than the PSA alone in over 2,000 men. The MiPS test measures the PSA, two common cancer genes TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3. You can look at this website for more information: www.mlabls.umich.edu
If some of the testing options are not available to you, you may want to follow the "wait and watch" option that I will change to the "wait and change everything" approach. If you have an elevated PSA test, you can work with a holistic practitioner to change your diet, lifestyle, and add in supplements that can help your body to heal itself. My client diagnosed with prostate cancer came to me with a PSA of 134, very high! We changed his diet, lifestyle, added in proper supplementation, and addressed emotional roots to his cancer diagnosis. After 8 weeks of the changes, he was retested. His PSA was 1.3! Here is his story:
"In had my PSA tested in March of this year and found out that it had jumped dramatically in 4 months to 134. Through the supplements that Megan established, dietary changes, addressing emotional and spiritual roots to disease, after 2 months my PSA score dropped to 1.33. Unbelievable." ~Randy
In conclusion, with an elevated PSA test, breath and stay calm. Don't panic and don't rush into any radical treatments without more accurate and rigorous testing to confirm the potential suspicion of the PSA test. Find a holistic doctor who will help you to test in a more comprehensive manner. Find a holistic practitioner such as The Green Umbrella who is familiar in dietary, lifestyle, supplements, and other recommendations in addressing the underlying, systemic roots to a diagnosis.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Consult your doctor about these testing options or find a doctor who can help you with these potential tests.
Prostate Cancer Breakthroughs By Jay S. Cohen MD