Prostate Cancer: On the tail of a killer

Categories Lifestyle



Some of the ways to protect yourself against prostate cancer.

Nearly 19,000 cases of prostate cancer are discovered in Australia each year, and about 3,000 of those victims won’t survive it. The disease carries no symptoms in its early stages and may not be detected until a patient’s prognosis has worsened significantly. Surgical treatments may result in impotence and incontinence, and there is no remedy when it reaches advanced levels. However, promising research has indicated we may be finding ways to fight back. You may never have suspected measles and cough medicine could save your life but they might do just that.

Acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin, is a painkiller and fever-reducer also used in the mitigation of blood clots. Findings at Vanderbilt University say it may also work wonders for your prostate. In addition to research linking aspirin use to lowering the risk of prostate disorders, it has been connected with lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. (PSA is what’s looked for in blood tests to detect prostate cancer.) Of course, there is the chance the drug may be masking the problem. “Asprin may lower PSA levels below the level of clinical suspicion without having any effect or cancer development,” adds Dr Jay H. Fowke, who did the research.

The majority of prostate health supplements include selenium and vitamin E, and it’s commonly thought regular use of the former mitigates the risk of prostate cancer. As an initial independent analysis of data collected by the National Cancer Institute in the US has concluded, however, selenium and vitamin E pills did not prevent prostate cancer and had no effect on the participants’ PSA levels. More worrying still, the study revealed an increase in the number of prostate cancer cases in the 35,000 men over the age 5o surveyed, who were taking only vitamin E supplements.

An ingredient found in cough medicines might be useful for keeping prostate cancer at bay. Noscapine — an alkaloid derived from plants — is used in cough suppressants and, according to a study in the medical journal Anticancer Research, could be implemented into prostate cancer treatment. Although Noscapine has already been investigated as a potential treatment for brain, ovarian and lung cancer, this is the first time it’s been targeted at the prostate. The study revealed a 60 per cent reduction in tumour growth in lab mice and impeded rumour spread by 65 per cent.

In the past 150 years, the measles virus has been estimated to have killed more than 200 million. It’s a leading cause of child mortality and spreads wildly among populations where vaccinations aren’t given. But measles may also be an effective treatment for prostate cancer. Research, published in medical journal The Prostate, has shown that certain measles strains can be used as anti-cancer agents and effectively kill prostate cancer cells when guided to tumours. This method, known as virotherapy, is a radical new approach to cancer treatment, and in this instance can be used in tandem with traditional prostate cancer remedies.

While tomatoes have long been heralded for their potential in the prevention of prostate cancer, the latest research from the University of Missouri indicates it may depend on which type of tomato you eat. FruHis, an organic carbohydrate found in all dried fruits, has been shown to have significant protective effects against prostate cancer, and it’s found in dried tomatoes. So, next time you’re stuck on what to buy for lunch, go for a sun-dried tomato and bocconcini salad. Your reproductive system will thank you.