In this third video of the PCRI series, Dr. Mark Scholz discusses the role of diet as related to prostate cancer. His overwriting principal is vegetarianism, avoiding animal products. Dr. Scholz bases his conclusion on his observation of patients who lowered their PSA levels while on strict vegan diets. Dr. Scholz also discusses the fact that prostate cancer does not target sugars the way other cancers do. Data from PET scans seem to indicate that prostate cancer seems to feed on fats and amino acids both from animal products. A third observation comes from Chinese studies which indicate that prostate cancer incidence is low in those areas where people eat only small amounts of animal protein. Dr. Scholz concludes that avoidance of animal products and proteins is most important in men with advanced, metastatic tumors. For the entire five minute video, see the following link.
Dr. Mark Scholz, Executive Director of the PCRI, has generated an eight minute video discussing the major issues related to bone metastasis. Bone metastases generally occur in a small percentage of men and can appear 10-20 years after continuous prostate cancer treatment. Bone mets can be observed when the PSA levels exceed 20-30 or hundreds. The best method for detecting bone mets is the PSMA PET scan, if one can obtain access to it. Otherwise, standard bone and CT scans are used which also reveal enlarged lymph nodes. PSMA PET scans reveal metastases up to an 1/8th inch in width while other scans, 1/2 inch across. Bone mets indicate a potential life-threatening condition. Treatments include radiation and various hormone therapies. Fatigue can become a cumulative side effect. Exercise is very important. Bone metastases commonly spread to pelvic or back bone areas and can involve spinal chord compression. Xofigo is an approved drug for more than six metastatic sites; focused radiation can be used for fewer sites. Lutetium is a treatment not yet approved in the US but has been used overseas with some success. For the entire video, see the following link.
As I wrote this post, it hit home to me personally and seriously as I have advanced prostate cancer, with at least one metastatic site. However, my PSA remains very low and I am otherwise asymptomatic. Meanwhile, I am thanking my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for his continual personal care, His Biblical promise of life eternal in a new heaven and a new earth with a new body and for the extraordinary physicians to which I have access. For additional help, see the following Scriptural Medicines.
Dr. Mark Scholz, Executive Director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI), has produced three very informative short videos dealing with topics such as 1) active surveillance (AS) for men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, 2) bone metastasis and, 3) diet and cancer.
This first 7 minute AS video defines the terms “watchful waiting” as compared to “active surveillance”; cites the criteria for AS such as a Gleason 6 score, a PSA <10, and diagnostic procedures using MRI; discusses whether one can be sure of a Gleason 6 diagnosis; the utility of AS for long term care; monitoring of the cancer during AS utilizing periodic biopsies, PSA’s, and high quality MRI’s; signs to discontinue AS including increases in Gleason scores to >6; the use of PSA density; and, finally suggested diets. “Heart healthy diet is prostate healthy.” For the AS video, see the following link.
Using a comprehensive analysis of all the genetic risk data concerning prostate cancer for African American men, Dr. Chris Haiman of the University of Southern California and his team of over 200 researchers were able to determine that it was possible to create an affordable test, based solely on a man’s saliva or blood sample, to assess his risk of developing prostate cancer. The challenge now is to optimize the accuracy of this test and design a way to deliver it to all men.
Information about this test is available from the following link from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. You can also use the following link to sign up for the Smith Polygenic Risk Test and other related information.
The annual Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) Conference is a comprehensive educational experience for prostate cancer patients and caregivers. The conference moderated by Mark Moyad, MD, consists of keynote presentations from leading doctors followed by live question – and – answer sessions. Keynote topics include all treatments, newly-diagnosed, diet and exercise, sexual dysfunction, active surveillance, treatment side effects, prostate imaging and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). For the first time, this online event will be live-streamed free! You can attand from the comfort of your own home. You can expect to learn information that will empower you to make the best decisions. You can learn more about this unique educational event at www.pcri.org/2020-conference. To RSVP or subscribe see the following link. You may also contact PCRI at www.pcri.org/get-in-touch.
This morning I experienced a brief but annoying episode of a recurrent medical issue and potentially a new one. My initial reaction was tension mixed with a little “worry” and “what if”. I have been down that same road before. Almost immediately, God’s Word from James 1:6-7 came to me. “For the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.”
In my Florida yard, there are two huge majestic live oak trees suitable for climbing if I were younger (see above). In fact, a friend who is a tree surgeon tells me they are uniquely beautiful in their branch configuration and span. This particular windy morning, I could not help but notice the wide arching, to-and-fro patterns of the mighty branches. But as the branches were swinging wildly driven by the wind pattern and direction, the massive tree trunk never moved. It was firmly planted in the soil. Even during Hurricane Irma a couple of years ago, while branches broke off in parts, the trunk never wavered. My thoughts then refocused to the words of Psalm 1, where it is stated that “the man is blessed…..” who takes refuge “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water.” I saw myself as a branch solidly grafted onto the massive tree trunk. It brought to mind Jesus’ words in John 15:5 where He states that “I am the vine, you (me) are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” I need to consider myself firmly anchored to that massive, unmovable tree trunk (Jesus) whatever winds may blow.
I also noticed that unlike many trees in northern climates, the live oak leaves are deciduous; the tree is never without leaves. As the old leaves fall in March, the new ones immediately appear in their place. The leaves of the tree are constantly being renewed. It reminded me of the truth stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things” (i.e. tree leaves, personal worries, doubts) ” passed away; behold new things” (i.e. trust, hope, God’s peace) “have come.” So as one who has put his personal faith in Christ thereby enabling a personal relationship with God, I am a new creation; old things and habits do pass away. All becomes new. So as I write this blog to you the readers as well as to myself, whatever our medical conditions, I encourage us to put our faith totally in the unmovable trunk, God and Jesus. Let the old leaves of doubt and mistrust fall away and be replaced by new leaves and fruit of hope, peace and complete trust. As deciduous leaves and branches firmly attached to the unchanging person and nature of God and His Son Jesus Christ, let our minds and thinking be renewed according to the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12:2. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.
Data from more than 6,000 Medicare patients showed that adding the immunotherapy Provenge (sipuleucel-T) to a regimen containing the oral agents Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) or Xtandi (enzalutamide) significantly extended the lives of men with metastatic hormone-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The findings were presented in a poster at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, California.
Provenge, marketed by Dendreon Pharmaceuticals, is an immunotherapy that uses a patient’s own immune cells to fight prostate cancer. In it, a fraction of white blood cells that have been exposed to a prostate cancer protein are primed to activate the remaining immune cells to fight cancer. Provenge is the only immunotherapy approved in the U.S. (2010) for prostate cancer that is made from a patient’s own immune cells. Since 2010, second-generation androgen receptor inhibitors, like Zytiga and Xtandi, have become the standard care treatment for men with mCRPC. This led researchers at Dendreon to assess the benefits of Provenge when used in combination with these agents. The researchers examined medical and pharmacy claims from 6,853 Medicare mCRPC patients who had not received any prior treatment, which means they had no treatment claims in the prior year.
Results indicated that the use of Provenge significantly extended patients’ lives from 20.7 months to 35.2 months. This 14.5-month increase in overall survival represented a 45% reduction in the risk of death. Notably, the benefits were seen at any point during treatment, with patients receiving Provenge as part of their first-line treatment seeing the same extension in overall survival as those receiving the therapy in later lines. At three years, nearly half (48%) of patients receiving Provenge in any line of treatment were alive, compared to 28% of those receiving only Zytiga or Xtandi without Provenge.
Recent findings from an observational registry study called PROCEED also showed that men with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic mCRPC derive the same benefits from Provenge as those that had been demonstrated in IMPACT. Men with low prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels at baseline fared particularly well, living nearly four years after receiving Provenge.
This is in line with another study also presented at the ASCO GU Cancers Symposium, demonstrating that Provenge works better in men with early-stage prostate cancer — who likely have lower PSA levels — than in those with mCRPC.
“These real-world data contribute to a growing body of evidence that Provenge continues to deliver on its promise of helping men with advanced prostate cancer live longer,” said Bruce A. Brown, MD, chief medical officer at Dendreon.
A portion of the above was an excerpt from the Feb. 20th Prostate Cancer News Today, by Iqra Mumal. I strongly encourage readers to subscribe to this e mail prostate cancer news service.
Several years ago, I experienced an annoying side effect which had arisen related to earlier prostate cancer therapy. The side effect had been “cured” by a specific series of treatments but now it had reared its troublesome head again. One recent Sunday, it was especially troublesome. There are potential treatments for this condition but my excellent Johns Hopkins urologist told me that living with the condition is probably better than medically trying to make everything perfectly normal. “Perfection is the enemy of good”, he stated. So I spent the Sunday dejected and asking God why He had allowed this unwelcome side effect to arise again when it had been so well controlled four years earlier. In the course of a disease, when these disappointments happen, my mind and emotions sink into a mild depression and some degree of anger all of which last 2-3 days after which I acknowledge the situation and resolve to carry on my life as normally as I possibly can.
A day or two later, I read a devotional from Our Daily Bread, April 20, 2020. In Psalm 42, we gain a window into the human spirit as it engages in a profound emotional struggle often related to our disease state. The author of the Psalm copes with his personal crisis by first acknowledging his desperate need of God. I saw a clear picture of myself in this Psalm. The writer of Psalm 42 begins by acknowledging that he needs divine help in his condition by writing in verses 1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Then he outlines his problem. In his predicament, the Psalmist writes “when can I go and meet with God?” It is as if he is asking “where are you God in all of this?” While my condition was not painful, the writer, like myself, was distraught and disappointed, writing in verse 3 “my tears have been my food day and night.”
Then the Psalmist recalls better days when all was under control and he was living a peaceful life. I could relate to the following “These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God (my church) under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” Even though I was experiencing my problem on a Sunday, I was definitely not filled with joy and praise. Instead, like the writer in verse 5, I was saying “my soul, why are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” Looking back on God’s unfailing goodness to him in the past, the Psalmist challenges himself: “Why, my soul, are you downcast?” But then, he comes up with the solution. Instead. . . “Put your hope in God.”
For me, one day later, the dawn broke, bright and fair. I could express my hope as the Psalmist wrote in verse 5 ” Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” In our spiritual and medical struggles, our emotions must be acknowledged. It’s healthy to be completely honest before God, and it’s vital to keep our focus on Him in our emotional anguish. The Psalms were written by people like David who were at times overwhelmed with despair and confusion yet they exhibited a faith-filled confidence in God’s great love, His presence and faithfulness. That’s why we so readily identify with the psalms.
When I look into the sky on a clear night, I can see the stars like the Big Dipper, perfectly aligned in a pattern even though they are millions of light years away. But then, I realized that if I were actually closer to those stars, they would not appear to be so clearly aligned in a pattern. Yet from my distant perspective, they looked carefully configured in the heavens. At that moment, I realized that when I am too close to the negative events in my life and see only my dire situation, I don’t see what God sees. In His big picture, everything is in perfect alignment. His ways are beyond our limited ability to understand or visualize. Yet the One who holds all things together in the heavens and on earth is intimately and lovingly involved with every detail of our lives. Therefore, we “hope in God for we will yet praise him, our Savior and our God.”
If you are unsure of your own personal relationship with this God to whom this post refers, see the following.
This post is very personal to me and provided me with encouragement at this time of personal need. While I am currently asymptomatic, for which I am immensely grateful, I know I have metastatic sites of prostate cancer in my body. Upon a recent visit to my oncologist, he calmly but coldly and clinically told me that I have Stage 4 advanced prostate cancer which really scared me. It took about 2 days for the shock to calm down and for my stomach muscles to fully relax.
In 2007, I experienced a biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer which had supposedly been removed surgically in 1995. Subsequent radiation also failed to totally remove all traces of cancer. Fear gripped my life at that point. Meanwhile, I received an unexpected letter from the wife of the pastor of our country church in Maryland which spoke volumes to me in 2007 and then again today in 2020. I’d like to share a portion of it with you my readers and anyone else who could benefit from its contents.
She wrote as follows. “When an angel appears to someone in the Bible, often the first words out of its mouth are ‘do not be afraid.’ It happened that way to Mary and Joseph, the shepherds in the field, and the two Marys at Jesus’ empty tomb as well as to numerous Old Testament characters. If an angel were to appear to me, I would want to hear those same words. Actually, the phrase ‘do not be afraid’ is reiterated over and over in the Bible which contains 365 commands to ‘fear not’. I think that’s because God knows how prone we are to be afraid anytime we meet up with something we don’t understand or cannot control.
The term ‘do not be afraid’ is invariably linked Biblically with a phrase describing one of God’s characteristics; His presence, His power, His past performance or His promise. ‘Do not be afraid for I am…., or for I will.’ Apparantly, the antidote to fear is the knowledge that God is with us, is powerful and promises to help us. Isaiah 41:10 states ‘do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'”
My pastor’s wife continues. “When I was a very little girl, my dad used to take me for walks. My hands were still very tiny and his hands were very large. I would hold onto one of his fingers so that I wouldn’t fall. But my dad knew that wasn’t enough, for if I started to tumble I could easily lose my grip on his finger. He used to let me hold his finger but then he would wrap his other big fingers around my little hand so that even if I let go, he would still be holding on to me. He said that was a picture of the way God holds us with His big hand. Yes Lord”, she continued, “hold my hand tightly. I’m holding on to you but even more important I’m glad you’re holding on to me more than ever when I am afraid.”
So now, I am finding that the posts I am writing serve not only to hopefully encourage other men with medical issues like mine, but they serve to provide strength and encouragement for myself as I read them again. If you want to read any of the previous Encouragement posts, simply go to the Godandprostate.net home page and enter the word “Encouragement” in the search area. If you are unsure of your personal relationship with such a God and His Son, Jesus, see the following link.
This website usually focuses exclusively on prostate cancer but this particular post could apply to the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic as well.
Right now we as a nation and many of us as individuals may have a potential medical problem that has our stomach in knots with persistent worry. For most of us, it is the COVID-19 virus and its consequences but for many of us men it might also be cancer. We may be so focused on our situation that it feels like we’re carrying a heavy load on our shoulders. The Lord offers a liberating alternative: “Cast your burden upon [Me] and [I] will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Though God doesn’t erase all the ills that invade this life, He instead shields us from the weight of worry by taking our situation into His own hands.
However, the call to a peaceful life is impossible without confidence in the Lord. That trust is built through a relationship with Him, praying through trials and triumphs, seeking His guidance, and testing His Word to see that it is true and practical for life.
When we’ve experienced God’s faithfulness and believe He will continue to act on behalf of His followers, that’s when peace is possible. “No eye has seen any God besides you who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4). In fact, peace is not only possible but promised to the believer who trusts in Him. Philippians 4:6-7 states “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” But unshakeable peace isn’t instantaneous; it is cultivated through a consistent relationship with the Lord.
May we as a nation and as individuals place our trust in the words of Isaiah 26:2-4 which states as follows. “Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”
Much of this post was an excerpt from the February 26th, 2020 devotional from In Touch Ministries by Dr. Charles Stanley.