NATURALLY HEALTHY: Naturopathic approaches to prostate cancer treatment and prevention
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
In 2012 an estimated 26,500 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,000 will die of it and one in seven men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 28 will die of it.
Most men in prostate cancer support groups would caution men to follow their PSA velocity. What this means is that men of all ages should know their baseline PSA number and then monitor the numbers themselves. If the PSA number doubles in any one year period this needs to be monitored and/or treated.The wonderful thing about naturopathic medicine is that when you attempt to prevent cancers you are helping to prevent all cancer types as many of the same remedies are used for different cancer types. The five key pathways in the body that the naturopathic physician addresses in cancer prevention and treatment are: inflammation, detoxification, immune, oxidation and stress pathways.
The Amitabha clinic in California is run by Dr. Eliaz and some of their recommendations for prostate cancer treatment as outlined in the Townsend Newsletter December 2010 are routinely recommended by naturopathic physicians as well. I believe the following recommendations are also important for prevention:
Gastrointestinal health is an area that is central to cancer treatment. Dysbiosis can take the form of an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria or fungus, parasitic disease, food sensitivity, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, or chronic inflammation in the colon or small intestine. Anyone with chronic illness typically has one of these issues. Unresolved GI health issues can result in immune dysfunction, poor digestion, poor nutrient absorption, chronic infection, toxicity from pathogenic byproducts, or chronic inflammation. How I recommend preventing issues in the gastrointestinal tract is to take a good quality probiotic daily and keep the bowels open. Resolving issues such as gastrointestinal reflux and getting people off medications prevents further deficiencies such as B12 and dysbiosis issues. Detoxification
There are three issues that need to be addressed in relation to detoxification.
- The first is the fact that most people have toxicity in some form, due to either heavy-metal or pesticide burden, or as a byproduct of dysbiosis.
- The second issue is detoxification "competence." Every prostate cancer patient whom they have tested in the Amitabha clinic has defects in his ability to methylate estrogens, which can result in toxic forms of estrogen associated with a higher risk of developing cancer.
- The third is to support the body's ability to excrete the byproducts of tumor cell death, an added burden to an already overburdened detoxification system.
It is not a matter of IF we are toxic but how much. In detoxification research studies it has been found that EVERY human has six chemicals in their body: mercury, BPA, poly brominated diphenyl ethers (PDE’s) found in flame retardants, perfluorooctanoic acid found in non stick cookware, acrylamide found in coffee, french fries and plastics and methyl tert butyl ether (MTBE) found in gasoline additives. Dr. Eliaz is the physician who has done the research on the citrus pectin Pectasol, for the use of heavy metal and chemical detoxification to treat and prevent cancer.
Insulin metabolism abnormalities in insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism can drive inflammation, elevated blood sugar, immune compromise, reduced tissue oxygenation, hormone imbalance, and increased viscosity.
Diet and exercise are important areas to assess and improve for normalization of weight and insulin sensitivity. Targeted multi-nutrient botanical formulas can also improve insulin sensitivity, promote lean muscle development, reduce abdominal fat, and reduce inflammation, thus taking the fuel from the flame.
New research is showing that Metformin has anti-cancer activity in addition to its insulin-sensitizing effects.
For those who choose to incorporate more conventional treatment options, naturopathic modalities have a crucial place in terms of preparation, side-effect reduction, and long term well-being supporting cardiovascular and skeletal health, reducing hot flashes, fatigue, and depression with carefully crafted protocols.
If a man has an elevated PSA and is in “watchful waiting” for a low-grade prostate cancer diagnosis, naturopathic physicians have the ideal skill set to offer highly personalized care to this population, drawing on clinical experience in providing nontoxic treatment protocols and prescribing lifestyle therapies.
I recommend testing for 25(OH) vitamin D levels to optimize the intake of this vitamin to prevent and treat cancer.
Selenium is always part of the treatment protocol and so are high EPA/DHA fish oils.
Keeping the waist below 40 inches as well as HgA1C at 5.5 is important for optimal insulin metabolism.
I also educate the use of regular detoxification programs and optimizing these pathways in the body using methylating agents such as B12 and sulphur containing nutrients.
You don’t have to wait to have a problem with the prostate. There is much to do for prevention. Remember: MOVEMBER: Methylation/detoxification; Oxidation support; Vitamins (selenium, vitamin D) Essential Fatty Acids; Metabolic support (control insulin resistance); Bowel support; Exercise; Relaxation.
Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or www.drpincott.com