By Dr. Mercola
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the US, about 221,800 men get diagnosed every year yet only about 27,500 die each year from the disease. Unfortunately, the conventional treatment for prostate cancer leaves much to be desired.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a therapy that didn't involve costly and hazardous surgery, drugs, or radiation?
Peter Starr, an award-winning filmmaker, recently produced the documentary Surviving Prostate Cancer Without Surgery, Drugs, or Radiation. He's also in the process of writing a book on the same subject.
In June 2004, he was in fact diagnosed with prostate cancer, and as his film and book title reveals, today, 11 years later, he's still here to share his story.
Why Peter Decided to Take a Lesser-Known Path to Treat His Cancer
Peter spent 35 years making documentary films before becoming a stunt man, riding motorcycles. He suffered a bad accident in 1999 and was unable to work for nearly nine months. Four years later, almost to the day, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"That's significant because I later learned about emotional traumas creating the source or the trigger, if you like, for the cancer mechanism," he says.
As most men, Peter dutifully followed the standard protocol of getting an annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and when a digital rectal exam (DRE) revealed an area of concern, he followed doctors' orders to get a biopsy done.
"Now, there was no discussion about what a biopsy was, what it would do, what one could tell from it, and what the effects were after the biopsy. I was one of the sheep. I just went in for the program and did the biopsy.
A day later, the urologist called me up and within about eight seconds, he said, 'Yup, you've got a cancer. I want you to read this book by Dr. Patrick Walsh then come in and see me,' and hung up on me.
All I heard was cancer, the 'C' word. I freaked out like most people do. It took me a good four days to understand that I could get a handle on this. Dealing with it, for me was, 'Yes, go look for that book.'
I went to several libraries, bookstores, and health bookstores. I didn't find that particular book but what I did find was a book by Dr. Larry Clapp called Prostate Health in 90 Days.
I then went to seek the opinion of a couple of other doctors... When my urologist said, 'You've got to do a radical prostatectomy,' I didn't. By that time, I had no insurance, so I asked him, 'What's this going to cost?'
The answer was $43,000, which he couldn't afford. Peter walked out of the office and never looked back. Instead, he began reading and talking to people to learn everything he could about both conventional and unconventional ideas about prostate cancer treatment.
He ended up putting together his own program, and three years later, they couldn't find any sign of cancer in his prostate. All they found was a benign lesion. To be on the safe side, he continues to monitor it with an annual 3D color-Doppler ultrasound.
"After about four years, there was nothing there to be concerned with," he says, "but I had found all this amazing material... so I set about making a documentary."
56 Doctors Speak Out About Alternative Prostate Cancer Treatment
Traveling to eight countries on three continents, he interviewed doctors about various aspects of their specialty. In all, 56 doctors are included in the film—MDs, DOs, NDs, and some PhDs that don't practice but do a lot of research.
"All of the people in the documentary are highly-credentialed. We had a shorter version of the film that ran on PBC recently, and I had doctors complaining that these were voodoo doctors; I had to go to the head of the programming for this particular station and say, 'Look at the credentials of these people!'
It's almost like you cannot attack conventional thinking because that's how they make their money, and that's all they've learned. They don't have the frame of mind to go outside of that. I swear, if some of these guys got prostate cancer, they would change their entire thinking about it if they looked into what I've learned," Peter says.
While prostate cancer is common, it does have a close to a 90 percent survival rate after being diagnosed. Of the 221,800 men diagnosed each year, 27,500 die from the disease. As noted by Peter:
"There was a study done in England recently, showing that if you do absolutely nothing about prostate cancer, you will live just as long as if you did conventional treatment.
I know that's statistics and some people obviously would die and some don't. But when you look at that statistic, it's something that's totally ignored by medicine generally."
Biopsy Is Not a Risk-Free Diagnostic Tool
Peter also reviews the process of diagnosis, which includes a biopsy if your PSA score is close to 4. To do the biopsy, a needle is inserted into your prostate about a dozen times, which tends to cause severe bleeding.
Many doctors also still use crude ultrasound to locate the suspected area of the prostate, so there's the risk of missing the cancerous area altogether. A much clearer view of the prostate can be had using a 3D color-Doppler or MRI.
"The invasiveness of the biopsy is amazing. Yet, it doesn't teach them anything that you can't get elsewhere [through other means], with the exception of a Gleason score.
A Gleason score is what a pathologist gives to a sample, based on what he believes to be the aggressiveness of the cancer cells: 2 being low and 10 being 'you better do something tomorrow' attitude."
Interestingly, in Europe, no treatment is implemented if you get a Gleason score of 6. Instead, they will encourage "watchful waiting." Peter's Gleason score was 7, which in the US means that surgery is highly recommended. In fact, his doctor told him he would die if he didn't get it done.
Being told that you're facing death is enough to make most people jump on the bandwagon and do whatever their doctor recommends. According to Peter, about 70 percent of men make the decision to have surgery within 48 hours of their diagnosis, and the entire system is really set up to push you in that direction.
"Usually, when men call me for advice, it's after they've had surgery, drugs, or radiation, and things have gone wrong; when the cancer has not gone away or the cancer has come back. They come to me because they're desperate, saying, 'What do I do now?' I just wish these people would ask that question before they undergo the treatment rather than be rushed into conventional treatment and then have a problem," Peter says.
Is There a Better Way to Screen for Prostate Cancer?
There's a lot of controversy about the PSA test as a screening test. The PSA is an indicator of inflammation, and inflammation can be an indicator of health problems besides prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or cancer. As discussed by Peter, the PSA is by no means a definitive test, and it should not be the sole basis for the decision to do a biopsy, as the biopsy itself can cause significant damage.
Based on his research, he believes getting an annual digital rectal exam is a better choice. The doctor can feel the prostate to find out whether it's hard, or whether there are noticeable nodules. Then, rather than getting a biopsy done right away, Peter recommends getting a 3D-color Doppler ultrasound done first.
"If, for instance, your GP feels something in your prostate that he doesn't like (maybe the texture isn't right), or maybe the PSA is up a little bit, the first thing I would do is go get a 3D-color Doppler ultrasound. If the prostate is clear of cancer or lesions, then you can walk away... If it's not, if there's a problem with the prostate, you have a choice.
Do I go conventional?—in which case they will do a biopsy because they want to treat you [based on] that. Or do I go to the natural route and give it six months, eight months, or whatever and find out if this process of changing my diet, changing my lifestyle, detoxification, and addressing the emotional components of my life will reverse the cancer.
Give it a period of time and see if that makes a difference, because you're not going to die tomorrow. Not of prostate cancer anyway. You've got time to make that choice. And if you haven't done a biopsy, you start off that entire natural process a lot better than if you have to heal a prostate that's been bleeding. Perhaps, they've even introduce pathogens into the prostate [through the biopsy].
Heaven forbid, this has happened, when they go in and they take a core and the core comes out, cancer cells get a chance to come out of the prostate. There's a chance of the cancer spreading more quickly if you do a biopsy than if you don't. Those are my thoughts and opinions based on what I've read and those I've interviewed."
Many Patients Die from the Conventional Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Peter's father was also diagnosed with prostate cancer, and ended up dying. But not from the cancer, Peter says, but rather from the treatment. He was able to obtain his father's medical records, and discovered he was treated with a drug called Flutamide.
"He died of a heart attack because over the years that he was taking Flutamide, his body shrunk, his muscle shrunk, his bone shrunk, and his heart stopped. But he didn't die of a heart attack; he died through the continued use of an anti-testosterone drug."
Drugs like these are sometimes recommended because there's a derivative of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which seems to catalyze the growth of prostate cancer. But that's totally different than regular, natural testosterone. Through his research, Peter discovered that men with high, free testosterone do not get prostate cancer. Men with low free testosterone and high estrogens get prostate cancer.
"One of the things I recommend is doing a saliva panel test of all eight male hormones and having a doctor look at them," he says. "And let that doctor give you the advice as to whether it's high or low or whether something should be done." Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, for example, gives testosterone (orally or injected) to his prostate cancer patients, and he's found that it provides his patients with a higher quality of life, without any adverse or negative effects.
The Emotional Component of Prostate Cancer
Many might find it surprising that the emotional element can have such a potent impact on prostate cancer, both in terms of triggering it, and in successfully treating it. Peter first became aware of it through reading about Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer's work in German New Medicine (GNM), but he didn't really accept it fully until he met Dr. Gilbert Renaud.
Later he also interviewed Dr. Bruce Lipton, one of the leading authorities on how emotions can regulate genetic expression, which are explained in-depth in his excellent book, "The Biology of Belief."
"The fact that the cells can change based on the environment that they live in, and that environment is influenced by the way you think and your attitude in life, is an amazing thing," Peter says. "All of a sudden, it was like a piece of the jigsaw puzzle fell into place. I started to look at my own life, and I had to get some people out of my life who were toxic. I couldn't deal with certain jobs that I was doing because I was building this level of stress in my body that I don't need.
With me, it was two or three emotional issues that I'd never resolved. Through Dr. Gilbert Renaud's work, I resolved those. I had distress from one of them that I ignored since a teenager. When it was lifted, I felt the difference immediately... It's not only early life traumas that you store inside your body. It can go back into the womb. It can be issues that are passed through the mother, into the fetus. The fetus then carries them into life.
I was born in England at the height of World War II and one can only imagine the stress any pregnant mother was enduring with the constant bombardment of German bombs exploding all around you night after night."
Typically, the worst emotional insults are before the age of 7 or 8, an age where your rational cortex, which can help you sort through some of these issues, isn't functioning ideally as it hasn't matured yet. It can profoundly damage the circuitry in your body and kill you 50 or 60 years later. For all of these reasons, Peter's program places significant focus on addressing and releasing emotional traumas.
Peter has created the Healing Arts Education Foundation, which is working towards offering programs to male-oriented groups like the Rotary Club, to teach men about prostate health and natural treatment options. Prevention is clearly your best bet, but it's important to understand that a prostate cancer diagnosis is not an automatic death sentence.
Most men will have time to pursue alternative routes of treatment before putting themselves under the surgeon's knife. Should you find yourself with a prostate cancer diagnosis, Peter's general suggestions are summarized below.
Four Steps to Healing Prostate Cancer Naturally
- Blood: As a first step, Peter recommends doing a 62 blood analysis. If a nutritional deficiency is identified, supplements are suggested to correct it. Vitamin D is particularly noteworthy here, as vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with prostate cancer. Ideally, you'll want your level to be around 70-100 ng/ml if you have cancer.
"If you're down in the 20-30 ng/ml and you have cancer, that's the first thing you've got to get up. I prefer to get people out into the sunshine," Peter says.
Checking for insulin resistance is also important. If you're insulin resistant, you need to be particularly careful about cutting down on sugar, ideally limiting your total fructose consumption from all sources to less than 15 grams per day. You also need to take a close look at your diet in general, whether you're insulin resistant or not.
Avoid animal products from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as these animals are raised with hormones, antibiotics, and glyphosate-contaminated GMO grains. Processed foods in general are an anathema to good health, but particularly when you're trying to heal cancer.
Peter also recommends fasting, which I believe is good advice—especially if you're insulin resistant. I recommend intermittent fasting, and it doesn't have to be a lifelong commitment. Once your insulin resistance has resolved, you can go back to eating normally.
- Toxins: Next, he recommends looking for toxins, using urine and fecal analysis. If toxicity is found, a detoxification program is put together. While heavy metals are a concern, calcium is also a factor here, as many men have calcification in the prostate that needs to be eliminated. Strategies for decalcifying the prostate include vitamin K2 or a product called Detoxamin.
"Some of the doctors that I talked to have different ways of doing it. I don't so much get into telling a doctor what he should be doing. I let him do his own research. I just send him patients who'd work with him in terms of integrating what I've learned into what they do," Peter explains.
- Hormones: A saliva panel is done to check hormones. Testosterone may be suggested if your testosterone levels are low or estrogen elimination programs if your estrogen levels are excessive.
- Emotions: The fourth and final step is to address emotional traumas. Men don't like to deal with their emotions, but they really need to. While there are many alternatives, one of my favorites, which has been scientifically verified effective, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This non-invasive and simple-to-learn tapping technique can help you release emotions locked in your body—even if you're not clear on the origin of the trauma.
To learn more, I highly recommend obtaining Peter's film, now available as a three DVD set, along with a 40-page resource guide. The name, address, telephone number, and qualifications of each of the 56 featured doctors are included in the guide.
At present, this documentary is the most comprehensive compilation available on the alternative views on prostate cancer treatment. You can find the DVD set on SurvivingProstateCancer.org, along with more information about the film. In closing, Peter offers the following suggestion:
"The thing that seems to be common amongst men who have a prostate cancer diagnosis is the fear in their voice, and in their system, when they come out of the doctor's office. The one thing I'd like to say to men generally is, 'You're not going to die tomorrow.'
Don't let the fear control the decision making process of that doctor who would like to keep you in his particular path, because if that urologist doesn't do surgery, he's not going to get paid. What I like to see people do is to try to get their lives together over a six-month period and monitor it. That's got to be the better way to go, I would think, in the long term. But don't let fear rule your decision-making process."