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alternative therapy

muddyboots's picture
muddyboots
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2016

I am 54 years old and was diagnosed with prostate cancer about three weeks ago.  My psa was 16.  11 out of 12 samples returned with a Gleason score of 3+3 or 3+4.  Getting other tests done...CT, X-Ray, Nuclear Bone scan.  The last thing i want is to have surgery.  Has anyone had any luck with alternative treatments.  I've read some articles on THC, Thyme, Oregano and Chamomile having some promising results.  For me, surgery of any type is a last resort.  Thanks.  

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 3041
Joined: Nov 2010

Muddy,

Welcome to the board.

You did not describe the specifics for your refusal of surgery but, your young age makes me to understand your concerns. Unfortunately alternative therapies to radicals (surgery and radiation) are all palliative and do not cure. Hormonal therapies have the "power" to diminish the action of the cancer providing the means for controlling its advancement. Those you describe are sort of "holistic remedies" which have been around for many years without proven success. Some oncologists recommend a few of them to help in hormonal manipulations or to counter the side effects of a prime treatment or even to fight symptoms caused by cancer such as pain. Some guys use marijuana for pain, pomegranate manages to mask the PSA, ketokonazole (a dandruff shampoo) is used in the hormonal arsenal to avoid metabolism of cholesterol into testosterone, etc.

The best choice against radicals is Active Surveillance (AS). This is a model where the patient follows a sort of military like regimen of periodical tests of vigilance lasting many years till the situation becomes critical and the patient needs to go through treatment. However, AS is only recommended by the physicians when the cancer is not aggressive but sort of indolent, and if other aspects conforms with AS requirements. One survivor following AS in this board for many years with Gleason score 7 is "hopeful and optimistic" whose story you can read in here;
https://csn.cancer.org/user/99828

He is very knowledge on the matter and I would recommend you to mail (CSN-Email) him a note asking for details and advice.

Radiation (RT) substitutes well surgery (RP) in terms of treatment outcome success, toward cure. There are several methods to administer radiation so that one can choose what one thinks it better and more comfortable to him.
In any case, an option should only be chosen/decided upon obtaining reliable data on the cancer. Those image studies you are doing plus a fewer other tests will provide a guess on your status, from where the physician will designate a clinical stage. Contained cases have higher marks for complete cure. Localized cases manage cure via radiation therapies or combine RP + RT. The age of the patient influences decisions and so does any other existing illness or finances/insurances. Your family should be involved in your decision process.

Best wishes,

VGama

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 2226
Joined: Apr 2009

Active surveillance is appropriate for low risk disease.In your case with 11 of 12 cores positive, which is extensive,  at age 54 , in my laymans opinion you are too young to be enrolled in an active surveillance program.

I suggust that you ask for a T3 MRI which provides better resolution than the CT scan, and will be instrumental a treatment choice. 

You mentioned obtaining an x ray. ......I wonder why you are receiving this test?

Since the side effects of surgery can be very severe, and may cause incontinence and erectile dysfunction, as well as side effects from surgery itself, I can only agree with not having surgery. 

There are various forms of radiation that are  curative. In my opinion the best of these is SBRT( there are various machines that administer this treatment to include, but not limited to cyberknife and novalis). 

For SBRT there are only four or five sessions, without experiencing difficulties during treatment, and you are able to go on with your life routine. There can be side effects after treatment, but not as likely as surgery. SBRT provides the most precise treatment among the radiation treatments available.

Link-----Stereotactic body radiation therapy for low-, intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer: Disease control and quality of life at 9 years.

http://meetinglibrary.asco.org/content/157284-172

Heart healthy is prostate healthy, so follow a heart healthy life style....Vasco covered it well, in responding to the holistic remedies that you mentioned...( in fact we with prostate cancer are more likely to die from heart disease, which is epidemic than prostate cancer). Many of us at this board follow this life style. Several eat a mediterranean diet, while others like me follow a veggie based diet. ...At any rate, meat and dairy are no no's for prostate cancer. Suggest you read a book, "the china study" by t colin campbell, or watch the DVD , FORKSoverKNIVES that you can find on netflicks or the public library.

 

muddyboots's picture
muddyboots
Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2016

Thank you.  Not sure why the x-ray... lung cancer check maybe (I smoke).  Did not know about dairy but I did watch Plant Pure Nation and plan on following their advice including stop smoking.  

Will Doran
Posts: 207
Joined: Sep 2015

Muddyboots,

I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis.  I just posted on "Time to Check Out" from Deadmansoon ( Max and I called him Wellmansoon).  I could Cut and Paste what I wrote there, but will tell you, what I said to Wellmansoon, I would say the exact same thing to you.  You are very young and stronger than I was when diagnosed at age 67, in October of 2013.  There is hope and you must fight hard.  Make sure a study all the options for treatment.  Keep in touch with us here and ask whatever you want.  We'll try to answer the best we can.  However we are not doctors and thus can ony tell you what has worked for us. 

Know that you are also in my Thoughts and Prayers

Love, Peace and God Bless

Will

MEtoAZ
Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 2016

I suspect SwingShift will be posting shortly to this thread!

SwingShift is a strong advocate for surgical alternatives and spceifcally Cyberknife.  I was 52 when diagnosed but only two cores of 12 at 3+3 and 3+4 with 2 other cores being "abnormal" but not yet reaching a level to be Gleason rated.

I do not know your reasons for not wanting surgery though the majority of people do go that route and most are successful and the side effects managable and subside over time.  I don't have first-hand experience in that option but many if not most in this forum do and if you have specific questions about that route, they can answer them.

After reviewing all the options, I opted for CyberKnife over surgery because I liked the fact that there was no recovery period, incontinence issues were extremely rare as were bowel problems, etc.  E/D which is complete for a period of time after surgery has been nonexistent at least to this point for me.  Everything still works and no leaky plumbing. 

Recovery was immediate and the only pain during the treatment was the liguid diet but hey, you WILL lose weight, at least while on that diet!  I did end up with a couple of issues, post treatment that were likely related, I had an experience that seemed like kidney stones 3 months post procedure that was resolved with a 6 day progression on steroids and also had frequent urges to urinate at 6 months but that went away with a week on Flomax.  I only took Flomax until the symtoms resovled and haven't taken any since.  Just to let you know I did have a couple of issues that I worked through.

Everyone's situation is unique, your entire prostate appears to be involved and that may require different considerations than my scenario.  For example, they will likely recommend hormone therapy which is still up to you.  In my case, they wanted to do that for a period of time but I declined as it increased my cure percentage from 93% to 94% and I chose not to go down that route, with its own side effects, for a 1% improvement in odds of cure.

Cure percentage relates to likelihood of cancer returning within a 10 year span as I recall.

Cancer is a scary word when you first hear it, do your reserach and check out lots of options and keep positive.  This is one cancer can be beat!  My PSA was just under 5 when diagnosed, post Cyberknife it has gone to 1.2, then .9 and now .6, in 9 months.  I like the trend as it should progress to near zero over the next year or two!  Wish you well on your journey to a cure!

Old Salt
Posts: 720
Joined: Aug 2014

we could make better judgments with more info. But it does seem to me that some kind of radiation therapy to treat your prostate and surrounding areas should be considered. Moreover, I second your idea to not have surgery.

I do NOT favor the alternative approaches that you mentioned (THC, thyme, oregano and chamomile). But a cup of chamomile tea could be comforting...

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 1013
Joined: Mar 2010

OP: Since you jumped from no surgery to alternative treatments in your initial post, I'm not sure if you've ruled out radiation treatments as an alternative to surgery or not.  Assuming that you are still open to radiation treatment, I'll jump in as MEtoAZ predicted I would.

There are all kinds of reasons NOT to choose surgery for PCa treatment and, since you've already ruled it out, I will assume you know about the dangers and won't bore you (and others) by repeating them here.  Vasco has already gone over AS as an alternative, so I won't bother speaking about that either.

As for radiation, you have 3 basic choices: 1) Cyberknife or SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy), 2) IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy and 3) BT (brachytherapy).  Proton beam therapy (PBT)is 4th choice but it's a special case and isn't as readily available as the other three.

MEtoAZ and I both chose Cyberknife which is the best method of radiation treatment for PCa currently available.  It's the best method of radiation delivery because: 1) it can deliver radiation with a high degree of precision (to the sub-mm level) which reduces the likelihood of collateral tissue damage that can cause other problems; 2) it can deliver radiation in all directions by means of a fully rotating arm and moveable table, 3) it only requires 3-4 treatments over a week time and usually does not require the patient to take time off work.  CK is the radiation treatment of choice for high risk cases, such as brain, spinal, lung and other cancers where surgery creates added and undesireable risks for treatment.

I was treated w/Cyberknife in Sep 2010 and am cancer free 6 years following treatment.  I experienced no side effects whatsoever -- no ED and no incontinence following treatment.   So, if you are eligible for it, I highly recommend that you consider CK for the treatment of your cancer.

IMRT is the most common form of radiation treatment for PCa.  It does not deliver radiation as precisely as CK, which increases the possibility of side effects, and typically requires 20 or more treatments (5 per week for 4 weeks), which is much more inconvenient than CK, but studies indicate that survial rates following IMRT are equal to those for CK.

BT involves the placement of radiioactive seeds in the prostate.  There are 2 types of BT -- high (HDR) and low (LDR) dose rate. HDR BT involves the temporary placement of the seeds in the prostate which are then removed.  CK was modeled on HDR BT.  LDR BR involves the permanent placement of the seeds in the prostate.  The problem w/BT (high or low) is that it requires the manual placement of the seeds that, depsite the best placement plan, can be improperly position and or move, which can cause collateral tissue damage and ineffective treatment.  The problem unique to LDR BT is that the seeds can be expelled from the body through the urethra, can trigger radioativity and metal alarms at airports and elsewhere and are considered a danger to pregnant women and young children at least for the 1/2 life of the seeds (a year) during which time the patient should not have any close contact with such people.

As for homopathic or other forms of treatment, they may have certain palliative benefits but I do not believe they would be effective in eliminating any cancer.

I hope you find this infomation useful.  Please keep us informed about the treatment choice you make and your reason(s) for doing so.  Good luck!

Deadmansoon
Posts: 43
Joined: Dec 2016

If alternative treatments are found to work, big pharma shuts them down.

Old Salt
Posts: 720
Joined: Aug 2014

Just look at the rows of 'alternative' medications in the supermarkets, drug stores and specialty stores. The business of 'alternative medicine' is quite strong and profitable.

CowboyBob
Posts: 31
Joined: Oct 2013

" alternative that acutally work" are impossible to "shut down" . Too many players to control. H as never happened. If alternatives actually workered, they would rapidly become standard care, rather than alternatives.

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