I Have Good News and Bad News.

Fjord leading to Stavanger, Norway; Bjarne Gabrielsen photo.
Fjord leading to Stavanger, Norway; Bjarne Gabrielsen photo.

I recently read about the high costs of various cancer drugs and treatments. In the case of FDA-approved prostate cancer treatments, a course of Provenge (sipuleucel-T) costs $93,000. Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) administered via four 250 mg pills daily costs $60,000 annually. Four 40 mg pills of Xtandi (enzalutamide) taken daily costs $59,600 per year. Yervoy (ipilimumab) is an FDA-approved treatment for melanoma which is being investigated in prostate cancer as well.  It’s cost is about $116,000 or about $29,000 per infusion, four being needed. It must be noted that these costs can be partially alleviated through Medicare and other supplemental financial aids. The drug developers also can provide financial help to needy patients. One should always consult the company websites.

On the other hand, mercy, compassion and eventual healing via a personal relationship with God available freely through Jesus Christ, have no monetary cost. George Mueller, a 19th century pastor who aided over 10,000 orphans and helped 100,000 poor children receive a Christian education stated the following. “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” While I certainly do not advocate passing up available therapeutic treatments, compare the costs and availability of these two categories.

Update on Fish Oil Supplements and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Recent studies seemed to indicate that the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish showed a correlation with serious, high-grade prostate cancer. There has been considerable discussion of this result in the past year (see this August 6th, 2013 website blog).  The latest commentary was published in the March 23rd, 2014 issue of the Johns Hopkins Health Alerts. The authors concluded that while studies do not prove that fish oil promotes prostate cancer, there seems to be a correlation between the two. Experts recommend getting our nutrients from the food sources rather than from supplements whenever possible. Johns Hopkins recommends that one should not stop eating fatty fish, but they recommend consulting one’s personal physician before taking fish oil supplements.

Phase 2 Clinical Trial Demonstrates Benefits of Metformin in Prostate Cancer.

In a study published in the January 4th, 2014 issue of the journal, European Urology, Swiss researchers found that treatment with the anti-diabetic drug metformin in patients with hormone-resistant prostate cancer increased their progression-free survival and prolonged PSA doubling time. The one-year study included 44 men who were given 1,000 mg (1 gram) of metformin twice daily. After 12 weeks of treatment, 36% of patients were progression-free with over 25% of these men remaining progression-free at 24 weeks. Over 52% of the patients experienced a prolongation of PSA doubling time reflecting slower tumor growth. Additionally, insulin sensitivity markers improved by 26% in the first 12 weeks of treatment. The researchers concluded that treatment with metformin is safe in non-diabetic patients. Metformin’s low cost, favorable toxicity profile and positive effect on metabolic parameters warrants further investigation as a treatment for prostate cancer.

A Life of Peace

The following was written by Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, and printed as the Feb. 25th, 2014 devotional of In Touch Magazine. It applies very well to any man dealing with prostate disease.

“Your home offers protection from the elements. So when a storm rolls in, you seek shelter within the safety of those four walls. The same principle applies to life’s storms. If we’ve built a solid house on a foundation of faith, then we’ve got a haven to run to when dark clouds gather and anxiety threatens to overwhelm us.

Let’s suppose a problem” (such as prostate cancer) “is worrying you, and your stomach is in knots. Friends and family try to be understanding,” but they have never experienced a similar diagnosis. “You are so focused on the issue that it feels as if your shoulders are bearing a heavy weight. Now listen to the liberating alternative God offers: ‘Cast your burden upon [Me] and [I] will sustain you’ ( Psalm 55:22). He doesn’t erase the ills that invade this life. Instead, He shields us from the weight of worry by taking situations into His own hands.

However, the call to a free and peaceful life goes unheeded unless a person has confidence in the Lord. Trust is built through relationship—praying during daily trials and triumphs, seeking biblical guidance for decisions, and testing God’s Word to see that it is true and practical. That’s how a house of faith is constructed brick by brick on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

A believer who trusts in the Lord receives the peace that Isaiah 26:3-4 promises. ‘The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because He trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God, the Lord, we have an everlasting rock.’  But unshakeable peace isn’t instantaneous; it is cultivated through a consistent relationship with God. A lifestyle of dependence upon Him is the key to weathering storms with supernatural calm.