Because of those side effects, some men wonder if alternative treatments might be beneficial. Is it possible such remedies as herbs and natural dietary supplements might help treat or slow the progression of prostate cancer? Might they delay the development of this disease? Clinical trials continue to investigate these questions.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States. It is thought that virtually all men with circulating androgens (hormones) will develop microscopic prostate cancer if they live long enough. In fact, when prostatic tissue is scrutinized under a microscope after surgery (or at autopsy), cancer is found in 50% of men older than age 70. And it's found in virtually all men over age 90.
How does diet impact prostate cancer?
Diet may account for about one-third of cancers of the prostate, large bowel, and breast. All of these cancers are more common in the Western world than in Asian countries such as Japan and China. Although cancer is influenced by both hereditary and environmental factors, studies show that Japanese men and those who eat a vegetarian diet have the lowest rates of prostate cancer. One possible explanation is the low fat content of the Asian diet. Another is that certain nutrients in the foods in these diets may help reduce the cancer risk.
Vitamin D3 has shown promise as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer, but is still under study.
If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, listen to your conventional medical doctor. Your doctor will guide your treatment regimen using the latest proven cancer therapies. Some alternative treatments for prostate cancer may be harmful when used with standard cancer treatments. So, always check with your health care provider before using any natural herb or supplement. That way you can avoid drug-herb interactions.