Every year, almost 200,000 men in the U.S. hear these four words: “You have prostate cancer.” It can throw you into a complete tailspin — involving doctor visits, harmful biopsies, drugs, scans, and even surgery.
And in far too many cases, those devastating words aren’t actually true.
In fact, many experts believe that a condition shouldn’t be labeled as “cancer” if it doesn’t cause death.
But that’s exactly what’s happening to countless men around the country. They receive a shocking and demoralizing prostate cancer diagnosis — but in a vast majority of these cases, the condition won’t shorten their lives, much less kill them.
In fact, as the saying goes, most men die with prostate cancer — not from it.
In my work as a pathologist, I saw many men in their 80s or 90s who died with undiagnosed prostate cancer, which never caused them problems and certainly didn’t cause their death. Numerous autopsy studies have come to the same conclusion.
So, how did the current state of prostate health get to be so full of fear-inducing diagnoses and knee-jerk treatments?
75 percent false-positive rate
One major part of the problem stems from the fact that we don’t have an accurate or reliable screening tool for prostate cancer.
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test measures levels of PSA protein appearing in the blood. Levels can be higher due to prostate cancer or non-cancerous prostate enlargement (called benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH).
The PSA test was originally designed to monitor the progression (or regression) of already-existing prostate cancer.
But there was never any scientific basis to use the PSA test for random, routine screening in healthy men. And its overuse has resulted in an epidemic of overdiagnoses and overtreatment.
Nevertheless, physicians continue to force this woeful screening test on perfectly healthy men, even though it has an astounding 75 percent false-positive rate. And as a result, urologists use the results to justify harmful and unnecessary prostate biopsies that can cause extreme discomfort, bleeding, infections, and other painful complications.
Plus, we now know that non-cancerous conditions can elevate PSA numbers, including benign prostatic enlargement. Even regular activities like having sex or riding a bike have been to shown to increase PSA levels!
It’s since become abundantly clear that the risk grossly outweighs the reward. So much so that in 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF) even gave the PSA test a “D” rating and started recommending against it as a screening method!
No interest in shutting down big business
Another major part of the problem is the government-industrial-medical complex’s unyielding interest in diagnosing and treating harmless growths in the prostate.
But really, it’s no surprise. It’s big business for them — raking in billions in the U.S. alone.
The whole system is downright tragic, especially considering how the treatments — including surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), and androgen suppression therapy (hormone therapy) — can result in devastating side effects, including:
- Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
- Breast tenderness and growth of breast tissue
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- Hot flashes, which may get better or go away with time
- Loss of muscle mass
- Osteoporosis (bone thinning), which can lead to broken bones
- Reduced or absent sexual desire
- Shrinkage of testicles and penis
- Weight gain
These mainstream approaches have awful side effects. But do any of these aggressive treatments really prolong survival?
Not as much as one would hope…
In fact, a key 2016 study on 1,643 men with low-risk prostate cancer found that survival rates were the same whether the men were treated with surgery, radiation, or just watchful waiting. Furthermore, each group had a death rate of only 1 percent from prostate cancer. However, the costs, complications and discomfort were far greater in those treated with surgery or radiation.
In most cases — especially if you’re diagnosed with early-stage, low-risk prostate cancer — “active surveillance” makes the most sense. With this approach — approximately every six to 12 months — your doctor will monitor the cancer’s progression with ongoing prostate exams and PSA tests (which, remember, are beneficial when not used as a screening tool). Ultrasound imaging or prostate biopsies are conducted only on an “as needed” basis.
If the cancer becomes more aggressive at any time, only then should active treatment (like surgery or radiation) be introduced.
My protocol for prostate prevention
Lastly, we know that prostate cancer is preventable — and treatable. To be proactive when it comes to prostate health, follow these simple recommendations:
- Adhere to a Mediterranean-type diet
I often talk about the importance of following a Mediterranean-type diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and heart-healthy fats from fish and extra virgin olive oil.
And now, according to a new study published in the Journal of Urology, following a Mediterranean-type diet lowers the risk of the aggressive, often-fatal form of prostate cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight
A study presented in January 2018 at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference found that obese men with a history of prostate cancer have a higher risk of recurrence. Obesity also raises the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, according to a recent report from the World Cancer Research Fund.
Of course, your weight should stay at a healthy range if you follow a Mediterranean-type diet and keep carbs to a minimum.
- Supplement with vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a key role in preventing a host of chronic diseases — including prostate cancer.
In the January 2018 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I wrote about research showing that men with low levels of vitamin D in their blood were 2.6 times more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer than men with high levels of D.
I suggest a daily dose of 10,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 — even in the summer, as most people are already very insufficient or deficient.
Good news on the horizon…
For the past year and a half, I’ve been compiling evidence on all the natural approaches shown to significantly reduce prostate cancer risk. And with it, I’ve developed a step-by-step protocol that can help men wade through the misinformation, weight all of the options, and take control of their prostate health once and for all.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and you’ll be the first to know when this landmark protocol is ready for release.
In the meantime, subscribers to my Insiders’ Cures newsletter can refer to the June 2018 issue to learn more about the big, fat reasons why prostate cancer research is so flawed. You can check it out on my website, www.drmicozzi.com, by logging into the Subscriber’s Sign-In section. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started.
“Prostate Cancer: Screening” U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (www.uspreventativeservicestaskforce.org) 12/30/13
“5 Things We Now Know About Prostate Cancer,” Johnson & Johnson, Health and Wellness Tips (www.jnj.com) 6/10/2018