Thursday, December 29, 2011

7) Diagnosis and Beginning to Heal

We made an appointment with Dr. Zink to go over the Prostate Biopsy results and discuss Treatment. I entered the office fully expecting to hear the words Radical Prostatectomy, and was prepared with my research on da Vinci Surgery. Dr. Zink explained that the Biopsy had found prostate Cancer in three of the cores, the right apex, left apex and left mid at core amounts of 10%, 15%, and 5-10% respectively. The Prostate Cancer found had been rated with a Gleason Score of 3 and 3 for a total score of 6.

Gleason Scores for rating Prostate Cancer have been around for a reasonable time, since 1966 when Dr. Donald Gleason, a pathologist created a scoring system on information derived from studies of the biopsies from around 3,000 patients with Prostate Cancer. It now provides a standard of measurement as to the severity of the Prostate Cancer. From a patients standpoint, the lower the score the better. It is important to note that the process is a bit subjective and depends on how the cells look to each individual pathologist under the microscope. About 1.5% of the time an inaccurate diagnosis of Prostate Cancer is made where none really existed. Generally speaking a Gleason score of 5 or 6 are generally low grade tumors, a Gleason score of 7 is rated as intermediate and moderately aggressive, while a Gleason score of 8, 9, or 10 are high grade tumors, very aggressive and fast growing.

The location of the Prostate Cancer is also very important when considering removal of the Prostate for treatment. In my case a Radical Prostatectomy because of the Cancer’s location would most likely damage/remove the nerves leaving me without sexual function but still with adequate urinary function. This option, if required, is still preferable to me over radiation treatment because of its long-term results. Too many Prostate Cancer patients previously having radiation treatment find themselves without options 5 to 10 years down the road when they have a relapse.

During our chat I felt best when Dr Zink looked at me and said, “Your Prostate Cancer is low grade and slow growing. You will not die of Prostate Cancer, there are so many treatment options.” Of course he was talking of all the accepted medical options including hormone therapy, various radiation treatments, and surgery, etc, while in my mind I was already exploring other alternatives.

Dr. Zink said there was no immediate action that needed to be taken and put me on a process he termed Active Surveillance. We scheduled another PSA test for 6 weeks out. He also recommended I have another Prostate Biopsy in 6 months and pending those results, another again a year from that one. I am weighing the risks and considering all options regarding scheduling these possible future biopsies.

With diagnosis in hand I went back to the Internet looking for answers. My research led me to Paul Reilly, ND at Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center in Renton WA, who co-authored along with Dr. Michael T. Murray the book: How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine, published by Riverhead Books. This is a remarkable book and a must read for anyone diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. From that book and other studies I began my treatment.

I also returned to Bastyr Center for Natural Health to explore other ways to improve my own immune system for natural healing. Their treatment has already improved my physical well being and their methods will be discussed here.

Next installment: Treatment Begins

Thursday, December 15, 2011

6) The Dreaded Prostate Biopsy

Both my wife and I met with Dr. Zink at Group Health to discuss options regarding potential Prostate Cancer. Regardless of how you feel about it, this is not something you want to hide from your family, or try to bull your way through on you own. Allowing your loved ones to be part of the process is a good thing, and will lead to a much faster healing along with an improved quality of life.

From the start Dr. Zink told us he had performed over 1,000 Prostate Biopsies over the years. He could only think of two infections as a result of his Biopsies, which was much lower than the National Average for Prostate Biopsy Complications. Because of his success rate, he was reluctant to change his protocol at this point and would stick with the Cipro to prevent Prostate Biopsy Infections.

I told him I was a wimp when it came to medical procedures and very worried about the pain during the process. I’m the type of person who can hit my hand with a hammer, then use duct tape and a paper towel to stop the bleeding and keep on working. But when it comes to even small little needles and someone else poking around, I just might pass out. He said there was no way to avoid needles. He would be using a local lidocaine for a periprostatic block at the time of the procedure and he would prescribe an oral sedative as long as I had some to drive afterwards.

I asked Dr. Zink about taking Pectasol-C and Tagamet prior to, and after a Biopsy. He said he had never seen a paper that shows a Biopsy could Spread Prostate Cancer and he would not recommend the Tagamet. He did not have an opinion regarding the Pectasol-C. Yes, I did keep taking the Pectasol-C! In fact, I upped the dose around the time of the Prostate Biopsy. Nor did he have an opinion of any supplements to take before the procedure. I wrote this off as the standard medical response from someone in his profession. With all the malpractice, insurance issues, and internal regulations of a large medical operation such as Group Health, there just isn’t the time or inclination for doctors to explore other options no matter how good they may be. Let’s face it, Dr. Zink may be really good at what he does, but he totally resides within his narrow line of expertise. To expect him to reach beyond that standard norm, is asking way too much for medicine in America today. (Later in this Blog I will be sharing the options I have personally chosen for my own alternative healing, Releasing the Prostate Cancer.

Based on Dr. Zink’s Biopsy results, and with a desire to see if there actually was a serious problem, we decided to go ahead with the process. The first thing I did was to call Group Health to acquire an 'Estimate' on their costs for the procedure as I am on a high deductible insurance plan. A few days later I called again for another estimate. (More on this to follow)

At Dr. Zink’s request for 10 days before the Prostate Biopsy I abstained from aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), fish oil, Vitamin E, clopidogrel (Plavix), aggrenox, and any other blood thinners. There is some bleeding with this procedure and there is no sense creating further risk. Dr. Zink also prescribed a single diazepam just before the procedure as a sedative/relaxer, and of course there was the enema and cipro for me to take at home before I came into his office for the biopsy.

My wife and I walked into his office about 20 minutes early for my appointment. Were both nervous, but I was beginning to feel the diazepam and becoming increasingly calm. When call back we were told that we both could come. Surprise. My wife was there with a direct view of the entire procedure. Of course for the most part she had seen most of it before. In her own words this is her experience:

When Steve made his appointment for the biopsy I knew that I would go with him. He decided to get some medicine to relax before the procedure. I thought it a good idea.

When we arrived at the Doctor’s office he checked in, got the usual weigh in, blood pressure etc and then he took a pill to relax. Wish I had some for me.

After 20 minutes or so the nurse said we ‘both’ could go into the Room and gave instructions on how to prepare for the Biopsy. I was surprised when they said I could accompany Steve. Ohhhhkay…I didn’t expect that, and didn’t quite know quite what to expect… but I was all for it.

Dr. Zink explained exactly what he was going to do. He had the ultrasound machine right at his side. As the nurse and Doc got ready for the procedure I was surprised… no ‘shocked’ at the Length of the Needles that were used. Oh my God - - these things are long, and looked wickedly sharp.

He first put the Probe up Steve’s ass and I could see the picture of his prostate. This was actually very interesting. The doctor explained what I was looking at, the size, the placement and so on. Never having seen a prostate up close and personal - - it was really cool.

The first needle that went in I could feel my body tighten and get uncomfortable. As I saw that Steve didn’t seem to feel it and couldn’t see a thing. I got more relaxed and just viewed the process.

The nurse and doctor were precise, methodical, careful and continually checked in with Steve as to how he was doing. That put me at ease.

The entire procedure of getting out all the samples was done in maybe 15 minutes. After waiting another 10 minutes or so to make sure Steve was okay, we were on our way.

I was glad to be there for support and getting information but don’t look forward to another Biopsy if Steve chooses to have one.

My experience of the Prostate Biopsy was a bit different. I lay on my left side with my but hanging out over the medical table facing Dr. Zink and my wife. It was a reasonable comfortable position. Insertion of the ultrasound probe was a bit uncomfortable but not a problem. Then came the lidocaine. It was done in several shots and stung like the dickens, not unlike a strong bee sting for a short time, then drifted away. Dr. Zink was very good about asking how I was doing throughout the process. When it was time for to take the Prostate samples, I could feel the process of the needle going in, and hear the sound of the spring loaded mechanism taking the sample, but there was no, or very, very, little pain. In all the Prostate Biopsy was uncomfortable but not unreasonable.

When I got home I lay down and rested for a short time. Dr. Zink had warned me about blood in my urine and sure enough there was some. By the second day the reddish urine ting was passing, and thankfully with the help of the Cipro I did not experience any infection. Generally for the next week I consciously moved slower than usual, did not lift anything heavy, and just focused on healing my body. The results arrived 5 days after the Prostate Biopsy. Sure enough I had Prostate Cancer in three areas. Bummmmer!! The good news was that it was ‘Slow Growing’.

Next installment: Diagnosis and Beginning to Heal

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5) Decision for the Prostate Biopsy Step Two

Along with the Allergy testing at Bastyr Center for Natural Health several other lab tests including Blood Panel, Lipid Study, Thyroid Test, CRP - Cardiac/Enzyme Marker Inflammatory Test, and new PSA Total and Percent Free tests were ordered and processed. The testing was done through Pacific Physician’s Laboratory, Inc. In addition, as a direct result of my discussions with Dr. Jones and Students at Bastyr, I decided to seek out another ‘medical’ opinion regarding future Prostate Biopsy should one be needed.

Still disappointed with the quality of service I had been receiving at Group Health, I made an appointment at Urology Northwest after a thorough Internet search. They appeared to have some of the best recommendations. My appointment was pretty standard for a Prostate exam. We discussed past test results and chatted about possible Prostate Cancer Treatment. The doctor performed a DRE and ran a Urine Analysis to check for any infection. Based on my Prostate history and lack of urinary infection, the doctor recommended I have a Prostate Biopsy. He was ready to do one at his office in a matter of days. I left with the very words I didn’t want to hear echoing in my ears.

About this time the lab results from my Bastyr tests came in. Medically I was sound. Everything looked good with the exception of my PSA tests. My PSA Total came in at 6.83, a substantial increase. My PSA Free came in at 13%, again another slide in the wrong direction. Both of these were a shock to me because I'd experienced much better results directly after the cessation of the Cipro. This was not good news. As mentioned before, the specter of Prostate Cancer can be a really scary thing. The unknown possibility can be even worse than the known quantity. At least if you are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, you can decide on a form of treatment and move on with your life. With these latest results my wife began lobbying for a Biopsy just to get the question answered. Of course she was hoping for good results.

I began to toy with the idea of having a Prostate Biopsy. Sure there was risk but I reasoned certain physicians and facilities may present less risk than others. It also appears Prostate Biopsies can be uncomfortable to very painful. I found that some doctors use a surface acting anesthetic first on the rectum wall, and then a needle anesthetic to numb the prostate. Some doctors do not. While the anesthetic appears not 100% effective, the studies seem indicate it may reduce the pain of the procedure by an average of 30-40%. In some other settings doctors are even using a general anesthetic, knocking the patient out prior to the procedure. Then there was the risk of spreading of any potential Prostate Cancer cells as a direct result of the Biopsy. I was already taking Pectasol-C to prevent this from happening. Additional studies indicated taking Cimetidine (Tagamet at 800 mg daily) may modulate the body’s immune response (immunomodulation), interfere with tumor growth, and inhibit tumor cell migration and metastasis. I was wondering about this as an additional option, but didn’t want to damage my ability to absorb healing nutrients.

I started to make a list of pre-Biopsy questions to refine my search for a Prostate Biopsy physician. They included:
            Question 1: What is the number of prostate biopsies you have performed, and what is the number of cases you have had where there have been serious antibiotic resistant infections as a result of the procedure?
            Question 2: Is Cipro the only antibiotic you use prior to, and/or after the biopsy?
            Question 3: Have you read about Dr. Schaeffer’s new protocol at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, of targeted antimicrobial prophylaxis that has significantly cut the incidence of prostate biopsy infections?
            Question 4: What processes(s) do you use for pain management during, the procedure?
            Question 5: Is it acceptable for me to be taking Pectasol-C and/or Tagamet prior to, and after a Biopsy?
            Question 6: Are there any other ‘supplements’ I should consider taking, or not taking, before, during, or after a Prostate Biopsy? 

Then too, should a Biopsy find I have Prostate Cancer what would be my next step(s)? I began this process by looking at all the standard forms of treatment currently available. Then I sought out alternative forms of treatment. My research led me to one conclusion. Should I have Prostate Cancer that needed some form of ‘radical treatment’, the da Vinci® Robotic-Assisted Prostatectomy is the only form of treatment I would accept. This form of treatment appears to have significantly better long-term results when compared to Open or General Laparoscopic Surgery and Radiation Therapy. (More on this to follow) With this conclusion, I decided to keep my search of potential Prostate Biopsy physicians to those qualified with, and having local access to, the da Vinci® method of treatment. Lo and Behold, this led me back to Group Health, and I made an appointment for a Prostate Biopsy 'discussion' with Dr. Jerome Zink in Seattle.

Next installment: The Dreaded Prostate Biopsy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

4) Decision for the Prostate Biopsy and Food Allergy Relief

Back in Seattle, and I felt pretty good. It appeared there no need for a Prostate Biopsy. Most of the urinary symptoms had subsided since taking the Cipro. I still had a nagging concern with the doctor’s statement that I may have non-aggressive Prostate Cancer, but at least I knew nothing was going to happen tomorrow. Then there was that ‘spot’ on my Prostate. I resolved to gather more information.

About this time my wife and I decided to attend the Ballard Seafest Event: food, fun, music, crafts, and all manner of new things to explore. Have you ever read “The Celestine Prophecy? I bring that up because one of the ‘Insights’ talks about how everyone we meet has some important message to impart to us. Not just serendipity, there is a reason for the meeting, and a message to be shared that will bring about some form of mutual benefit. Life can be really fun and interesting when one is open to this philosophy. Who knew at the time the Ballard Seafest would open a door to alternative healing. During the Ballard Seafest, as if guided, we found ourselves in front of a Bastyr University booth. Wonders of wonders, those in the booth were passing out coupons for a Free Naturopathic Clinic Visit. They explained further that because of our age, we already qualified for their $15 normal visit charge at the teaching side of their clinic. Yahoo! We were thrilled not only because this opened another option for exploring the potential Prostate Cancer, but because each of us had chronic concerns that needed to be addressed.

My first visit to Bastyr’s Natural Health Clinic shortly thereafter was a rewarding experience. The students, nearly ND’s in their own right and guided by Dr. Jones, were helpful and professional. There approached my issues as a team and were supervised by a Licensed Naturopathic Physician. Let me step aside from the Prostate Cancer for a moment to share an immediate success story from my first visit.

For over ten years, I had been plagued by a debilitating feeling of a burning sensation in my skin. This was much like the sensation one experiences coming inside from the snowy cold and warming up too fast. The skin as it warms starts to tingle, then builds into a crescendo of fiery pricking pain. This appeared various places throughout my body seemingly at random. It was affecting my concentration, my sleep, and at times all I could do was lay down hoping it would pass. Over the years I had seen all manner of ‘medical’ doctors without success. They prescribed everything from B12 shots to serious addictive drugs that would only mask the pain not resolve the problem. I had blood tests, leaky gut test, even a CAT scan to find a solution. Nothing worked. My most recent physician for this condition was a Neurologist at Group Health who told me I was healthy, there was nothing he or I could do, learn to live with it, and then charged me an outrageous fee for his less than helpful opinion.

During my appointment at Bastyr, after really listening to my medical history, they suggested I have a Food Antibody Standard Food Panel IgG/IgE Assessment from US BioTek Laboratories. We did the blood draw at Bastyr and shortly thereafter I received results. Much to my surprise I was Highly Allergic to all forms of Dairy including Eggs. I also had serious allergies to Beef, Sugar Cane, Bananas, Cranberries, Pineapple, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Asparagus, and Onions. At the time, cheese was a major part of my diet. With this information I immediately removed Dairy, and any other allergic foods I was still eating. Shortly thereafter the symptoms that had plagued me for over a decade disappeared! You can’t believe how this felt. It’s like winning the lottery and well worth every minute spent at Bastyr and the reasonable cost of the testing from US BioTek Laboratories. Later I found out that Dairy, along with certain other foods, could well be a prime trigger for Prostate Cancer. (More on this to follow)

Of course the main reason I came to Bastyr was to see what form of Naturopathic Treatment for Prostate Cancer was available. You should have seen the looks on their faces when I first mentioned possible Prostate Cancer. From their expressions you would think I had used a four-letter word. Before I said anything else they immediately informed me that they could not treat any Cancer condition unless I was first under the active care of a licensed medical physician. Seems it’s the Law. Now I know at some obscure level this may be for our society’s general good, but it’s my body, and let’s face it except for broken bones and urgent surgeries in the past, the standard medical care in this Country leaves much to be desired. Shows you how truly screwed up we are when it comes to real health, government over-regulation, lack of personal responsibility, and frivolous lawsuits. What we are missing is a holistic approach to medicine, opening up all possible alternatives for healing. Medical doctors all too often have tunnel vision and can’t begin to think outside the box. But I digress. We decided on a plan to improve my overall immune functioning and they strongly recommended I see a medical physician for the potential Prostate Cancer. My immediate fear was that a medical physician would probably want me to do just one thing… a Prostate Biopsy.

Next installment: Decision for the Prostate Biopsy Step Two


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

3) Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and a New Surprise

It was an early flight, too early, from Seattle to Phoenix, but I was determined to make this a one-day trip to refine my Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and potential Prostate Cancer Treatment. Fortunately the car rental site in Phoenix is one of the best I have seen and I got in and out quickly. I arrived at the Longevity Medical Health Center ( on time for my appointment with Dr. Frank Tamburri, N.M.D. and the Power Color Doppler Ultrasound. I found Dr. Tamburri to be direct, knowledgeable, and thorough.

We started by going over all past history, tests and symptoms. He explained the process and began with a Digital Rectal Exam. You think I would get use to this by now, but no such luck. His DRE was more aggressive and painful on my Prostate than the previous exams, he found a small lump at the base of my Prostate very near the midline, and said it could have been easily missed by others. He ordered a urine test for infection and took a sample for another PSA-3 test. He explained different labs might vary in how they evaluate the PSA-3. He preferred to use Bostwick Laboratories for the PSA-3 and felt their evaluations more accurate than most. The PSA-3 test result came back in a few days at 49.4, higher than previously tested. Not good, though Dr. Tamburri explained the score rise could be from different procedures in different labs.

Dr. Tamburri also ordered a PSA Total and Free test that is additionally called a Free/total Ratio PSA or a Percent-Free PSA test. Upon release into the blood, PSA is enzymatically active, but protease inhibitors rapidly inactivate it. Most PSA is bound to various serum proteins. The bound PSA is called “Complexed” PSA. The unbound PSA is called “Free” PSA. The standard PSA test measures both components of PSA: free and protein bound. The PSA Total and Free blood test measures only the unbound (or damaged) type of PSA, called the Free PSA. In patients with Prostate Cancer, a higher proportion of PSA is bound. A low percentage of free PSA may warrant a Biopsy, while a higher percentage of free PSA would tend to be better for the patient. This test greatly helps to refine the standard PSA test results and provide for a clearer picture when it comes to deciding on a Prostate Biopsy. My score for the PSA Total and Free Test later came back at 31%, better and higher than the Cancer cutoff limit of 25% suggesting a lower possibility of Prostate Cancer.

At this point we proceeded with the Power Color DopplerUltrasound. It was done in his exam room and after applying sufficient amounts of lubricant to my anus a rather large probe was inserted up my rectum and focused on my Prostate. I had thought the DRE’s uncomfortable, but they paled to this procedure. During the Ultrasound I was able to view with Dr. Tamburri most all areas of my Prostate. He pointed out several small spots that looked like calcium deposits or cysts. Based on the Color Doppler Ultrasound, they had no significant blood flow to them, which was contraindicated of Prostate Cancer. Cancer tumors often grow rapidly, he said, and will show extensive blood flow near their sites on the Ultrasound. He also pointed out the small lump he felt during the DRE at the base of my Prostate near the midline. This as well did not have the localized blood flow to indicate Cancer, though he didn’t know for sure what was causing the spot. Overall my Prostate exhibited, as Dr. Tamburri pointed out to me, a greater blood flow than normal. This suggested to him that there could be an underlying infection throughout the Prostate. As Dr. Tamburri explained sometimes with Prostatitis, a swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, there may be physical symptoms without the infection showing in the urine. Symptoms of Prostatitis can include painful urination, pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals, and sometimes, flu-like symptoms. This certainly matched for several of my past symptoms.

After the exam we chatted about the results and options. Based on Prostate blood flow patterns, my Prostate over sensitivity, symptoms, and test history, Dr. Tamburri prescribed a treatment for Prostatitis that included taking Cipro for 30 days. He also said with the PSA and PSA-3 test results, and the spot on my Prostate, there was an indication that I may have a non-aggressive Prostate Cancer that should be closely monitored over the next year. He felt that metastic disease was not a high risk at this time. In addition to the Cipro he suggested I begin taking 4g to 5g per day of Ascorbate Vitamin C; 4 Caps per day of Metagenics EPA-DHA 720 essential fatty acids from cold-water fish, and 8 Caps every other day of Thorne Meriva-SR Curcumin Phytosome. (More on this to follow)

I stopped at a pharmacy on my way to the Phoenix airport and began taking the Cipro. Within a few days I was taking the other supplements. Taking this much Cipro over a month can be problematic. It has a risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture in all ages and the risk is further increased in patients over 60 years of age; in other words me. The first 3 weeks were without problem. Into the fourth week I began to experience pain near my joints in several places including arm and leg. As I continued to take the Cipro the pain began to increase so I did stop the Cipro slightly before the full course, and over time the pain subsided and went away. Later I found out that there are other medications that could have been supplemented for the Cipro.

The good news is that after the course of the Cipro, I went in to Group Health for a PSA test and the result came back with a score of 3.5. This was a significant change. I felt much relieved though cautiously concerned for what the future may hold.

Next installment: Decision for the Prostate Biopsy

Monday, November 14, 2011

2) Better Prostate Cancer Tests, and the Power Color Doppler Ultrasound

In all fairness, I should begin by thanking the physician at Group Health for even suggesting I have a PSA test. Because of her diligence I started on the path learning about a potentially life threatening Cancer developing in my body. Now I have the opportunity to take action, and make the necessary changes (More on this to follow) leading to improved health.

Knowing I had an elevated PSA score, and the knowledge these scores often lead to unwarranted, potentially dangerous Prostate Biopsies, I started searching for new diagnostic methods to better confirm, or remove the threat of Prostate Cancer. I came across an article about the Power Color Doppler Ultrasound test out of Phoenix, AZ and sometimes available in Seattle.

The Power Color Doppler Ultrasound is used to produce sonographic images of the prostate. It is essentially a more sophisticated version of traditional ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a detailed image of the body's internal structures. One primary advantage of Power Color Doppler Ultrasound in the detection of prostate cancer is that it has a much higher resolution and the ability to highlight (hence the term "color" in the name) areas of blood flow in dense or soft tissue. This allows specific problems, such as tumors or inflammation, to be viewed and measured clearly. This sounded a whole lot better than perforating my prostate with a bunch of oversized needles. The local contact for this test was Dr. Eric Yarnell, ND. I made an initial appointment.

During the office visit Dr. Yarnell reviewed my medical records, diet, symptoms, and lifestyle. He then suggested I take a PCA3 Profile test performed at his clinic. This is a gene-based test carried out on a urine sample. The PCA3 test is actually a dual assay in which both PCA3 and PSA mRNA are separately quantified and the ratio of the two, the PCA3 Score, is determined. The ratio is used because the denominator, PSA mRNA, establishes the amount of prostate-specific nuclear material in the specimen. A low level of PCA3 is expressed by normal prostate cells, and if absolute concentration of PCA3 were used, a high Score might be obtained from a specimen rich only in normal prostate cells. Thus, the PCA3 Score tells the expression of PCA3 corrected for the background of normal or BPH epithelial cells present in the specimen. In early clinical testing, it was soon determined that the higher the urinary PCA3 Score, the greater the likelihood of prostate cancer. Taking the test sample requires another Digital Rectal Exam where the physician massages the Prostate several times on both sides. Then you immediately pee into a cup for the urine sample. The sample is sent to a lab for the screening. This test has a safe reference range of 0 – 34, so the lower score the better. Unfortunately my score of 38.6 came back over the safe level.

My next visit with Dr. Yarnell was filled with questions. I was hoping for the best, and wondering what it all meant. His opinion based on my test results was that I may have a slow growing Prostate Cancer and that I could 'Watch and Wait', or take the next step and get a Power Color Doppler Ultrasound to better define the problem. He also felt that a Prostate Biopsy was a risk I might not want right now because of possible complications including infection dangers and increased opportunity to spread Cancer Cells. What I have come to understand is that Cancer in the Prostate isn’t the real killer. The problem comes from when the Prostate Cancer Cells grow so profuse and use the lymphatic, or blood systems, or contiguous growth to spread. Perforating the Prostate during a Biopsy may also release an abundance of Cancer Cells into the body and blood. The Cancer Cells then may lodge in other areas of the body, often bones or lymph nodes, and start to grow a new colony uncontrollably. This could result in Prostate Cancer Lymph Node, or Bone, Metastasis, a life-threatening situation often treated with chemotherapy or external radiation therapy.

With that said he suggested I immediately start taking a ModifiedCitrus Pectin called Pectasol-C that has been shown to inhibited cell proliferation and apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells. It does this by interfering with galectin binding, which disrupts communication between cancer cells and thus inhibits the formation and spread of Cancer. Why more medical physicians do not know about, or recommend Pectasol-C is beyond me. I have been continuously taking Pectasol-C since that conversation and plan to keep it up. The best pricing I’ve found is on using their ‘Subscribe and Save’ program.

As I am not the type of person to just sit back and wait for the hammer to drop, I decided to proceed with the Power Color Doppler Ultrasound test. Unfortunately the equipment would not be available is Seattle for several months. So I made the appointment, booked the flight, and in days found myself on a one-day round trip flight to Phoenix, Arizona.

Next installment: Power Color Doppler Ultrasound the Test, Results, a New Surprise and Treatment.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1) Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

On the surface my Prostate Cancer Journey began in January 2011. This is when Group Health decided to become even more profitable and once again increased medical insurance rates. My high deductible plan was previously costing $3,324 per year for the privilege of paying the first in $2,700 deductible, and was going up to $4,200 per year. Don’t get me started about the cost versus rewards of health insurance. So I was stewing about the new price increase for the high deductible medical insurance when I noticed there were now a few services entitled to me without additional fees. One of these was described as a ‘free’ Well Adult Visit.

During the January Well Adult Visit, my female physician sheepishly suggested I have a Prostate Exam because I was experiencing some minor burning urination and tender testicles. Group Health had already ruled out general infection and a host of other issues, and it had been more than two years since my last prostate exam. She started with a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and said to her everything felt good. Of course for me nothing felt good during the DRE.

A Digital Rectal Exam is where the physician inserts their gloved finger into your rear end so they can feel the Prostate. They are checking for any hard, lumpy, or generally abnormal areas on or in the Prostate. Though this is an uncomfortable experience for so many reasons, it’s over quickly. Tenderness of the Prostate during the exam may also provide the physician a further clue as to Prostate health. Should the physician feel any lumps or bumps that don’t belong it means they will want to take a more in depth look at the Prostate for possible Cancer.

Though my Prostate felt fine to her, she suggested I have a PSA test just to be sure. It sounded like a good idea. I did have some unresolved medical complaints, and at 61 years the risk of Prostate Cancer rises very quickly. Prostate Cancer is the second leading Cancer killer of men. In fact most men over 80 years have Prostate Cancer in one form or another. The blood draw was done at Group Health that day with the PSA test result coming only a few days later. My test result score was 5.5, above the previous score of 3.6 from a test in 2009. Not Good! The ‘norm’ for a PSA test at Group Health is currently 0-4. Based on my test result, my physician recommended I see a Group Health urinary specialist for a consult. Much later I found out that many other conditions, such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate, or even making love within a week before the test, can greatly increase the PSA score; and there are many who believe the normal PSA score range should be lowered to 0-2.6. (More on this to follow)

This is the first point where I began to vary from standard medical procedures. Last time I saw a ‘specialist’ at Group Health I ended up paying over $500.00 for a ten-minute office visit with no result. There is just something wrong with that. To top it off the specialist said I was in great shape and they couldn’t do anything for me. Needless to say I didn’t want to see an overpriced underperforming specialist without first looking into the whole PSA issue. (More on this to follow) I had also heard horror stories about Prostate Cancer Biopsies. Complications including bleeding, infections, erectile dysfunction, and evendeath from this procedure appeared to be on the rise. The more I looked into the world of Prostate Cancer the more I heard about unnecessary Biopsies and conflicting information regarding PSA scores.

Apparently PSA tests are rife with inaccurate results when it comes to predicting Cancer. Over 50% of men who had a high PSA reading turned out not to have Prostate Cancer and correspondingly over 50% of men who were diagnosed with Prostate Cancer had a low PSA reading. Of course that still left those the PSA test predicted accurately. So like a good problem solver seeking solutions, I started searching for answers and alternatives. Then too there is the ‘Velocity’ of PSA scores to consider. (More on this to follow) My next step was a visit to a Dr. Eric Yarnell, ND, who offers a naturopathic practice in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently a staff physician at the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center working with urinary issues, prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers.

Next installment: Better Prostate Cancer Tests, and the Power Color Doppler Ultrasound