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A Patient’s perspective

In June of 2004 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer following a digital rectal exam, and a biopsy.
The Gleason score showed 7 (potentially mildly aggressive) but my PSA was only 1.2.
Not what one normally expects.

My urologist, who in retrospect, lacked an empathetic patient “bedside manner” used my fear of death to emphasize his opinion that my only real recourse was a radical prostatectomy, which he called “The Gold Standard”, and that I should have it done right away. The implication of this pressure tactic was that if I did not undergo his surgery, then I would die, and soon. I was sent for a second opinion to another urologist, and guess what, I got a rubber stamped “first opinion”. This “railroading” towards surgery and several other clues led me to the conclusion that there had to be a better way of dealing with this cancer, than that which I was being offered.

Hence my study into “natural” medicine and “alternative” treatments for prostate cancer began. I quickly learned that what my doctor told me and likely what your doctor might tell you is only a fraction of what you need to know to make an informed decision as to how to treat your cancer. For example, a urologist is a surgeon and that is the only treatment he is likely to offer you. That is how he gets paid and supports his business.

Medicine is indeed a business that for many is highly profitable. I began to wonder whether sometimes the need for income could influence a treatment recommendation. In reality, we do not have to wonder. The “treatmentfield” is littered with casualties and the incentives continue to flow from the pharmaceutical companies to those that will promote and prescribe their treatments. This is not to say that all doctors are influenced or corrupted. Otherwise I could not have found the guiding lights that appear in this documentary.

There are many reputable doctors who continue to rally against the status quo, but all too often the aftermath of conventional treatment leaves patients shaking their heads and wishing they had given alternative methods of treatment and recovery an opportunity, before going under the knife or radiation.

Early into my studies amongst the many things I learned is that 42% to 66% of prostate cancers are ”over diagnosed” and “over treated” (www.cancer.org) often with disastrous results for the patients. Pain, bleeding, incontinence, fecal incontinence and impotence are not uncommon. Not to be ignored are the surgical deaths that occur (as high as 2% according to one study) as does radiation burning and radiation toxicity, which can lead to even more surgical intervention.

The more I studied, the more apparent it became that for diseases like prostate cancer, men have to become their own “doctor”, take responsibility for their disease, research ALL viable options and then make a decision for treatment based on knowledge, not fear. If you want to avoid conventional treatment, and its potential but real ‘side effects’ (I now call them direct effects), be prepared to change your lifestyle and your way of thinking. Men who have had conventional prostate cancer treatment who want to maximize the chance of the cancer not coming back, also need to look at their diet and lifestyle. There is a cause for prostate cancer, do your best to eliminate the cause and I believe you will have the best chance for a disease free life.

There is so much more than this simple perspective. Look at this documentary and evaluate the information it contains. It changed my life and how I view my own responsibility for the onset of disease, including cancer.

Peter Starr

Producer and Patient.