No use in having your prostate checked, Swedish study says
Men who get tests for prostate cancer are just as likely to die as men who never get a prostate check-up. That’s the finding of a new Swedish study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). It was a big study involving 9,026 men over a 20 year period.
One study by itself doesn’t settle everything, but this one comes pretty close.
The finding may sound strange to you (especially if you’re new to this newsletter). After all, everyone says early detection is the key to survival. If cancer has spread outside the original organ, your chances of survival plunge to practically nothing, at least with conventional treatments.
But for several reasons, early detection is dubious when it comes to prostate cancer. I’ll explain…
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How can early detection be useless? The first and biggest reason is that most prostate tumors are pretty harmless — or “low-risk” might be a better term. They grow slowly. In the good old days, many men lived to a ripe old age without knowing they’d been carrying around a prostate tumor for years.
It was a true case of “what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you.” The figure I’ve seen is that something like nine out of ten prostate cancers are in the low-risk category. The joke used to be, “Most men die with prostate cancer, not because of it.”
Used to be. Now, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, we’re tested to death. The main tests are the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which the doctor palpates the prostate with a finger inserted into the rectum; the PSA blood test, which determines the presence of a certain chemical the body produces when cancer cells are present; and, finally, the needle biopsy in which tissue is removed from the prostate to find out if cancer cells are present.
The needle biopsy is usually done only if the DRE or PSA tests suggest it’s likely there’s a tumor. In my view, biopsies should be done rarely if at all because they damage tissue and potentially spread cancer cells. Doctors do them far too often because conventional doctors think (wrongly) that biopsies are harmless, and because they don’t know how to interpret the PSA exam, and rush ahead with a biopsy that’s not needed.
My Special Report, Don’t Touch My Prostate, tells you about noninvasive tests for prostate cancer. You don’t need to have a doctor punch holes in your prostate. There’s a better test. The book also guides you to the best treatment options. If men would try the therapies I suggest (instead of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery), early detection might actually do some good.
As for the PSA test, if you read much about health, you already know it’s unreliable. But you might be surprised to learn it’s good for something if used right. It’s useful when used to detect a CHANGE in the health of the prostate. So, a PSA score of 4.5 probably doesn’t mean much by itself, but you should get another test in six months. If the score has gone up, it’s a red flag. It’s the CHANGE that matters. If the score is nearly unchanged, get tested again in another six months.
A doctor needs to look at the progress of the PSA level over a period of time. Other than that, the test is nearly useless. Even a fairly high PSA level — say, 100 — might be no cause for alarm if it stays at that level.
We’re being treated to death
Besides being inaccurate, the tests have led to extreme over-treatment of men who would live longer if they were left alone. Scenario: Doctor does the DRE and PSA tests on a patient. The results look bad. He orders a biopsy. It finds cancer cells.
Doctor sits patient down, tells him he has prostate cancer. Advises radiation or surgery. Tells patient the five-year survival rate is 90 percent for patients who undergo radiation or surgery. Patient, in a panic at hearing the “C” word, agrees to whatever doctor says.
Guess what, guys: the five-year survival rate is 90 percent for men who don’t undergo radiation or surgery. And the treatments can do enormous damage. They usually change your life in a way you don’t want it changed — impotence, urinary incontinence, and other side effects.
Basically, the Swedish study confirms what I said in my Special Report Don’t Touch My Prostate. In the study, 9,026 men aged 50-69 were selected at random. 1,494 of the men were screened for prostate cancer every three years while the rest were tested only if they started to show signs of a problem. Both groups were monitored over a period of 20 years.
During the study, 85 cases (5.7%) of prostate cancer were found in the screened group while 292 cases (3.9%) were found in the control group. Very likely there were a lot more cases of cancer in the control group. The cancers weren’t found because these men didn’t get the “benefit” of constant testing.
Overall, the same percentage of men in each group died. Being screened didn’t add one day to a life, and it probably resulted (I’m guessing here) in pointless surgery or radiation — and heaven knows how much needless misery, not to mention expense.
Picture this: you have your prostate removed — your life is messed up — and you don’t live one day longer than John Smith who had a low-risk tumor he didn’t even know about.
Scientists are working on tests to identify the ten percent of prostate cancers that are aggressive — the ones that grow fast, the ones you need to worry about. I’m hopeful they’ll find something, but they aren’t there yet.
Meanwhile, if your PSA scores ARE shooting up or the doctor’s finger discovers your prostate is hard as a rock, what then? Here’s what I’d do: I’d start taking the supplements, maybe try the Budwig protocol, give up all sugar, wheat and dairy products, eat lots of fresh produce . . . Well, I’m not going to give you the full list here. The point is, if I had a prostate cancer I’d tackle it with alternatives, NOT with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
If you want to know WHY you need to get sugar and wheat out of your life, read the article below. This information was in Wednesday’s issue but you may have missed it. It’s life-and-death information for prostate or any type of cancer.