The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1039: How to Reduce Your Risk from Breast or Prostate Cancer

Learn about the controversies surrounding diagnosis and treatment of breast or prostate cancer so you can reduce your risk.
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How to Reduce Your Risk from Breast or Prostate Cancer

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As we grow older, the risk of two different cancers looms ever larger: breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men. Whether you are a woman or a man, how can you reduce your risk from breast or prostate cancer?

Unscrambling the Controversies:

There have been controversies over the best methods for detecting and treating each cancer. When should women start getting annual mammograms, for example? How useful are PSA screenings for identifying prostate cancer in men?

Our guests are leading experts on the treatment of these cancers, and they do not shy away from controversy. Get an update on the latest thinking on how you can cut your own risk. You’ll also learn what these two different cancers have in common, and what we know about preventing as well as treating breast or prostate cancer.

The Research Articles:

The research cited on DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) for breast cancer was published in JAMA Oncology in October 2015. The research on prostate cancer that we discussed was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on October 29, 2015.

This Week’s Guests:

Susan Love, MD, is an adjunct professor of Surgery at UCLA and chief visionary officer of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of breast cancer. You will find it online at http://drsusanloveresearch.org  Dr. Love is on the board of the National Cancer Institute. Her best-selling book, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, is out in its 6th edition. The photograph is of Dr. Love.

Charles “Snuffy” Myers, MD, is founder and director of the American Institute for Diseases of the Prostate. He is a medical oncologist with prior experience in clinical pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute and as the director of the Cancer Center of the University of Virginia. His goal is comprehensive management of prostate cancer.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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My husband died in July of this year after having been diagnosed with squamous cell prostate cancer in April of this year. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and had brachytherapy(radiation by seed implants).That cancer was alleviated but he began to have bladder problems and multiple UTIs. Prostate tissue was removed and biopsies were done 11/5/15; 2/8/16; and finally on 4/25/16 the pathology report indicated squamous cell prostate cancer, and the oncologist told us it was rare, aggressive, and incurable. He also told us that the majority of men who develop this cancer is small in number, more than 50% of those diagnosed have had radiation treatment to their prostate usually at least 5 yrs previously. My husband was seeing his urologist & having PSA tests every six months. These tests do not pick up squamous cell. It took many months for this cancer to organize & indicate cancer. By that time, his urethra, rectal area, bladder and ureters had been affected. He had a supra-pubic and died in less than months after diagnosis.

In 2008 I had a mastectomy, dcis. I was given arimadex which nearly destroyed me as a person. After a year I told my oncologist ‘no more’ but she convinced me to take tamoxafin. (sp) I took this drug for 4 more years with no troublesome side effects. Then 4 months ago I was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer on my other breast and had it removed. The oncologist prescribed exemestane 35 mg as she said my cancer grew with tamoxafin. Exemestane is very expensive and I’m wondering where does dcis go if the breasts are gone? I have had no chemo or radiation.

My experience has been – after three so called second opinions – listen carefully and follow your conscience. As for myself, after breast feeding years are past – who needs breasts – when in doubt – cut them out.

I know of several men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, went through a complete prostectomy and yet continue to have small levels of PSA numbers. Some have gone through complete body scans to locate the source but nothing was found. Aside from the loss of sexual function, they constantly are stressed because of the lingering PSA numbers (as well as any other tests they had).

So the question is, what is the answer when a high PSA number occurs? Also what is considered “high”? One doctor panics when PSA jumps a couple of points where as another doctor says he doesn’t even worry about PSA until it reaches much higher numbers. Another friend of mine has a PSA of 35 (yes 35) and has had it for over 5 years now and is doing fine. Bottom line is, do we really know anything about this disease, or is this another fear factor like the cholesterol hoax was/is?

The doctor who came up with the PSA test said that he wished he had never created it, due to the false positives that typically lead to radical procedures. If you were to take a long bike ride, then get a PSA test, it would be elevated due to inflammation, then doctors would want to start treating you for cancer! The best cancer treatment is prevention, so educate yourself about the many natural ways to 1) strengthen your immune system (e.g. vitamin D3 blood level of 50 to 100ng/mL and a curcumin-boswellia-turmeric essential oil combination) and 2) reduce the inflammation in the body (typically caused by excess intake of sugar & wheat) that cancer needs to thrive.

Bob, the old story of follow the money. Radiation therapy is done for both breast and prostate cancers; a highly lucrative industry. Get the outside money out of politics and medical research and I think we would have very different practices – and healthier people.

I had a dcis in 2007; the surgeon wanted to do a radical mastectomy – to begin with. Now they wait and watch. I refused and had a lumpectomy, tho I did have 33 radiation treatments. Next would have been tamoxifen; but when a friend asked about my new mustache, and I considered the other side effects, I decided to take my chances and do without. Here we are in 2016, and here I am, breasts and all.

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