MEN’S HEALTH: Preventing Prostate Cancer

mh-8.jpgMen’s health can be maintained using the benefits of saw palmetto, vitamin E and lycopene for the prostate gland.

Stanley complained that by his early 70’s he needed to get up to urinate 4 to 5 times a night (nocturia). As is typical for men of his age, he hadn’t been sexually active for several years, and his prostate had begun to swell (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH).

The prostate sits immediately above the bladder, and its increased size put pressure on the bladder, causing a need to urinate more frequently and a sense of urgency when the bladder fills — a common problem affecting older men’s health. When he went to the doctor, Stanley’s PSA (prostate specific antigen) test was elevated, showing that he had some cancerous changes already taking place.

Although prostate cancer is now the most common malignant cancer in men, this is of less concern than cancer in other parts of the body, since the prostate is uniquely enclosed by a protective sheath. Most cancers in the prostate will not easily spread while sequestered within this sheath. A man can have prostate cancer for decades and not know it.

Stanley’s physician practiced whole medicine. Given Stanley’s symptoms, the doctor prescribed saw palmetto extract, vitamin E, selenium and lycopene. The doctor also wanted to continue to monitor his PSA for any changes.

Doc also suggested that Stanley would benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet, and recommended that he see a chiropractor regularly to assist the nerves from the low back control the bladder and prostate.

The saw palmetto plant is a short palm tree that grows in the West Indies and in Florida. The berry-like fruit of the palm is used, usually as an extract in herbal remedies for the prostate gland and urinary dysfunction. Unlike the drugs which treat similar symptoms, saw palmetto has few if any side effects, and contains numerous compounds that work together synergistically — phytosterols, free fatty acids, monoglycerides, and fatty acid alcohols.

It can take weeks or even months to see dramatic effects from saw palmetto use, but there are numerous studies on its effect on men’s health, which show it to be highly effective in relieving symptoms. The first study was performed in Germany in 1996 and showed a 73% improvement for nocturia, with 54% of the patients having less frequent daytime urination as well. An analysis of eighteen separate trials, involving almost 3000 men, showed the usefulness of saw palmetto.

Lower insulin levels from a diet low in carbohydrates also seems to slow the growth rate of prostate tumors. Other studies showed that the incidence of prostate cancer was 32% lower in men taking vitamin E, and their death rates 41% lower. Men who ate the most tomato products, which contain lycopene, also had lower rates of cancer.

What happened with Stanley? With three months, his nocturia was down to once a night, and within ten months, his PSA levels had returned to normal. His cancer seemed to have disappeared! He was pleased with the results of this natural approach to restoring men’s health.

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