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5 Myths and 5 Truths About Prostate Cancer

Photo of prostate - prostate myths and truths

The prostate is a small gland that is shaped like a walnut and is a significant part of the male reproductive system. The gland rests below the bladder, slightly in front of the rectum and surrounds the urethra. Its sole responsibility is to continuously produce the fluid in semen. As men develop, their prostate enlarges to approximately the size of an apricot. Unfortunately, as men age, their prostate can sometimes become subject to various health risks such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer. Out of the three, the most serious condition is the latter.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for American men (behind lung cancer) with approximately 248,530 new cases and 34,130 deaths every year¹. Additionally, it is the most common disease among American men behind skin cancer. However, despite its prevalence, people remain unaware or misinformed about the disease due to contradicting information on the internet or listening to varying perspectives from survivors who suffered through different experiences. Learning about any type of cancer can sometimes be frustrating since the disease is so broad and effects patients differently; prostate cancer is no exception to the rule. At LifeWorks Wellness Center we aim to educate our patients on the truth behind different cancers. Below are a few common myths that surround the disease, and the truth behind them.

Myth 1:
Only Elderly Men Should Worry About Prostate Cancer

Truth: Prostate cancer definitely poses a higher risk to those who are older, especially since 65% of cases are diagnosed in men that are 65 and up. However, this is not a disease that only targets a specific age group. While rare, it’s possible for some men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 50 or younger. Furthermore, some men are at higher risk than others due to certain factors such as family history, lifestyle, or ethnicity. For men with more than one first-degree relative diagnosed with the disease, The American Cancer Society recommends they should begin prostate exams at the young age of 40².

Myth 2:
Prostate Cancer Grows Slowly, So I Don’t Have to Worry

Truth: Those who perform brief research on prostate cancer may find that this cancer type seems less threatening compared to other cancers due to its higher survival rates and evidence of slower tumor growth. However, this does not mean that treatment should be delayed. There are 29 different types of prostate cancers that can vary on aggression and/or response to treatment. Whether the condition is in stage one or stage four, once someone is diagnosed, it’s extremely essential that they take it seriously and learn about the complexity of their cancer. Additionally, they should follow instructions provided by their doctor, practitioner and/or cancer care team regarding the testing process and treatment options and subsequently decide on the treatment methods that best work for them. This is also a prevention tactic to ensure that the cancer does not have an opportunity to progress to a more life-threatening stage.

Myth 3:
A PSA Test Is The Only Screening That I Need

Truth: There are many misconceptions that surround the purpose of a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. In truth, a PSA test is not an official cancer test, however this does not mean that it’s not beneficial. As a matter of fact, it is considered one of the best ways to test for early-stage prostate cancer. A PSA test measures the levels of prostate-specific antigens which can reveal any issues that are occurring within the gland. This means that a PSA test can detect inflammation, abnormal enlargement (such as benign prostatic hyperplasia), or cancer. Therefore, those who receive a high PSA score should not jump to conclusions since it does not necessarily mean that one has prostate cancer. Additionally, the test does not indicate whether or not there is a tumor, however antigen levels can indicate any abnormalities that might signify the presence of one. For this reason, other screenings are often recommended along with a PSA test for an accurate prostate exam and cancer screening.

Myth 4:
Reducing Sexual Activity Will Reduce My Risks of Prostate Cancer

Truth: It was theorized that high libido in men and frequent ejaculation increased the risks of prostate cancer. However, there is no official evidence to prove this information. This was only hypothesized since the prostate is essential for producing the prostatic fluid to protect the sperm, thus it was believed that the more one ejaculates the more work the prostate must do to ensure the fluid is constantly created, hence possibly imposing a potential cancer risk. As of now, studies have actually shown that men who ejaculate more frequently have lower risks of prostate cancer. In addition, ejaculation in general has not been linked to the cause of prostate cancer.

Myth 5:
Surgery and Radiation are the Best Forms of Treatment

Truth: While these conventional methods of treatment may be beneficial for some, it’s not the best method for everybody. As stated previously, there are 29 different types of prostate tumors. A majority of them are considered prostatic adenocarcinoma, however more rare types may include squamous cell carcinoma, prostate sarcoma, or neuroendocrine tumors. These types all vary in aggression, response to treatment and chances of reoccurrence. With that being said, different tumor cells may not react well to surgery or radiation, and sometimes these treatments may even induce tumor growth. Furthermore, these treatments may not be compatible with one’s immune system if they are already immunocompromised or suffer from other underlying conditions. Some people may need alternative forms of treatment that don’t permanently damage immunity or ruin one’s quality of life.

Have You Been Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer?

Receiving any type of cancer diagnosis can be a tough pill to swallow, however treatment for the condition doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it seems. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we believe that the more people understand their conditions, the more relief they will feel while seeking treatment. When people have more knowledge on their health, it reduces the anxiety that they feel moving forward with the treatment process. For those seeking alternative forms of prostate cancer treatment, LifeWorks Wellness Center has 23 years of experience in treating cancer patients using natural remedies. Prior to receiving a cancer treatment program, patients must consult with a LifeWorks cancer specialist to discuss diagnosis information, medical background and previous/current medications in order to determine the best treatment plan for the patient.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are interested in alternative treatment methods, please schedule an appointment at 727-466-6789.

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About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.