How do we beat prostate cancer?
Well, early detection helps. Early detected prostate cancers have a 5-year survival rate of 100 percent. But since early prostate cancer usually does not cause any symptoms, this seldom happens. Ask any middle-aged man here if they've had a PSA test done on them, and all you would probably get is an empty stare or a shoulder shrug.
Now, here comes Dr. Dean Ornish who says that a strict vegan diet can reverse the progression of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is diagnosed in more than 200,000 men every year in the United States and will kill 29,000 this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
It can sometimes be a slow-growing cancer and men often opt for "watchful waiting" when they have been diagnosed. They get regular tests of prostate specific antigen, or PSA --- a compound in the blood that can help indicate prostate health --- digital rectal exams, and sometimes ultrasounds of the prostate.
Ornish, along with urologist Dr. Peter Carroll at UCSF and other experts divided their 93 volunteers into two groups. One group was not told anything and the other was put on Ornish's program.
This includes an ultra low-fat vegan diet with fewer than 10 percent of calories from fat, plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and legumes.
They were also told to exercise daily. "It was mostly walking," Ornish said. "We asked them to do yoga and meditation."
After a year, on average, PSA levels rose in the group that made no changes but fell in the group that followed the Ornish plan.
Ornish said he does not know which component of his program is more important.
[ Reuters Health, Aug 11 2005 ]
Whatever that component is, I think people can wait to find out. What's more important is if it works. More studies and larger sample sizes must be done on this program of his. But it sounds promising.
Incidence-wise, Asian men have the lowest incidence rates of prostate cancer. Japanese and Chinese men have it at 0.004 to 0.006 percent. In contrast, white Americans have it at 176 per 100,000 men, while black Americans have it at 250 per 100,000 men. According to reliable sources, Filipino men have it at 20 per 100,000 men.