Since, in the last few years, there has been quite some controversy around the PSA test and its validity, I was very excited when I read this new article from one of my heroes, Dr. Rowen.
– Isolde Boutwell, President of the Florida Chapter of International Association of Cancer Victors and Friends? (ACVF).
There is a great way to determine the health of your prostate and fight prostate cancer at the same time. But it’s not the PSA test. [Ed. Note: And I am sure it will take at least a few years before it will dawn upo. n the established M.D.’s.]
I’ve told you for years that the PSA test is one of the worst diagnostic tools you can use for prostate cancer. It’s downright worthless at best, misleading and dangerous at worst. And now, two major medical articles have proven me correct.
The first article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). And the PSA deathblow arrived in the October 2004 issue of Urology. This time, at last, bigwigs are taking heed of the findings. If you have had or are considering a PSA test, please read this carefully.
The NEJM article discussed a prevention trial of 18,882 men. Of these men, 9,459 were randomly assigned to receive a placebo and undergo a yearly PSA test. During the study, 2,950 of those men (aged 62-91) never had a PSA level above four mg/ml or a positive rectal exam. In other words, they never had any clinical or lab diagnosis of cancer.
The same men underwent a biopsy after seven years in the program. The results were shocking. Fifteen percent of the men had positive biopsies and 15 percent of these had high-grade cancer!
And that’s just the beginning. Prostate biopsies are taken by random needle jabs into the gland. No matter how many sticks are made, there’s no way to know if cancer lurks outside of the tract
of the needle. So the real incidence might be far higher.
And that brings us to the second article, which was written by Dr. Thomas Stanley, the man who originally told us PSA could be used to detect prostate cancer. The article, published in Urology, completely debunks continued use of the PSA for cancer screening. That’s right, the man who first promoted the test has changed his mind!
He even went so far as to issue a press release saying, “The PSA era is over in the United States.”
Wow, those are powerful words!
But there’s more. He said, “Our study raises a very serious question of whether a man should even use the PSA test for prostate cancer screening anymore? Our job now is to stop removing every man’s prostate who has prostate cancer. We originally thought we were doing the right thing, but we’re now figuring out how we went wrong. Some men need prostate treatment, but certainly not all of them.”
Check out those words, “how we went wrong.” I want to stress them. Dr. Stanley deserves commendation for acicnowledging his error. This is rarely seen in medicine.
So what should you do about PSA? First, if using PSA at all, I recommend the “free PSA” test. This test measures the percentage of PSA that is not complexed (free floating) versus PSA, which is complexed with other blood proteins. Prostate cancer tends to have more complexed PSA. The higher your free PSA test done, the lower the chances of cancer. I think this is a valuable test.
If you still decide to have a PSA test, you need to use your own good common sense. A single PSA level means little, no matter how high it is (unless it’s over 15 or so). Follow it over time. If it is rising quickly and the free PSA percentage is falling, chances are higher that cancer exists. Even then, I wouldn’t rush off to a biopsy. My treatment plan wouldn’t change regardless of the pathology report.
If you want to prevent prostate cancer, I strongly urge you to have your Vitamin D levels checked regularly. Doing so and correcting any deficiencies, will reduce your risk of cancer by 80 percent!
Vitamin D is crucial in preventing prostate cancer. International Vitamin D experts are now calling for a revision of the RDA, as there’s no evidence of toxicity in daily intakes up to at least 10,000 IU.
I routinely measure Vitamin D as 25-hydroxy Vitamin D. While most folks are within the reference range, they are far from my ideal levels of 45-50 mg/ml or 115-128 nmo1/1. I currently have almost all of my male patients on a D3 supplement or cod liver oil (4,000 IU daily). I also suggest common sense exposure to sunlight. That doesn’t include burning your skin.
This isn’t all I do to treat the prostate, but it’s a far better way to test for prostate cancer risk than the PSA test.
One final note: Several of you have asked about the AMAS test after seeing endorsements for it from other doctors. AMAS, which stands for Anti-Malignin-Antibody in Serum, is an FDAapproved test that allegedly detects non-specific cancer antigen (protein). This means that even if it does work, and is positive, that you already have cancer. But the test cannot tell you where or in what organ.
I admit, it sounds great to have a cancer screen, even if it’s non-specific. However, those of us with hands-on experience with AMAS don’t have a positive view of the test. The Orthomolecular Society meetings in San Francisco attract some of the brightest physicians in alternative medicine. We had an engaging discussion of our AMAS experiences and none of us were pleased.
In particular, we repeatedly found negative tests when cancer was present, and in all stages (early, intermediate, and advanced). If the test is positive, it means you may have cancer somewhere in your body. But if negative, it would tell me nothing. What good is either reading? I abandoned the test many years ago, and many of my colleagues have told me they have done likewise.