By Ben Fuchs
Most men over the age of 45 have heard of the PSA test for prostate cancer, but there are a couple of little known facts about this mysterious marker of male wellness that may surprise you.
First of all, there is some controversy surrounding the value of the PSA as a diagnostic tool. According to research published in the October issue of the Journal of Urology by Dr. Thomas Stamey, who analyzed data from 1300 prostate removal surgeries, based on an analysis of more than 1,300 prostates removed, the PSA test is currently predictive of cancer only in 2 percent of cases.
On the other hand, in an opposing view published in The New England Journal of Medicine, praised the PSA test as having a profound effect on “virtually all clinical aspects of prostate cancer”. However, many medical professionals who appreciate the value of the diagnostic test as an effective, low cost tool for assessing prostate health admit that the use of the PSA may be a poor test for determining whether to initiate radical prostate treatments like chemotherapy, radiation or prostatectomy.
PSA stands for prostate specific antigen, which is a sugar-protein complex that is secreted by normal prostate glands. Although cancerous prostates secrete higher levels of PSA, so do normal aging glands and antigen elevations, so it could simply be a sign of an aging gland. PSA levels can also be increased infections, OTC drugs or benign prostate swelling. All of these are reasons why, according to Dr. David Williams, that when used to diagnose cancer, PSAs give incorrect results 20-35% of the time.
The bottom line: PSA testing, which thanks to FDA support is now the most popular tool for detecting prostate cancer, is virtually useless. Not only that, but because prostate cancer is such a slow growing tumor, treated survivors probably enjoy no longer lifespan benefits than their non-treated counterparts.
According to Dr. Richard Ablin, the physician who discovered PSA, “…men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.” After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men; one in six men will be diagnosed with the disease.
If you’re concerned about prostate cancer, make sure you’re taking care of all your anti-cancer nutritional needs including supplementing with Zinc Picolinate at 50mg a day, Selenium at 400mcg a day, and generous amounts of essential fatty acids. Food choices should include tomatoes, garlic, and cruciferous veggies like kale and broccoli. And, make sure you reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates/sugar and deep fried fats. And don’t waste your hard-earned money on useless testing that prove nothing to the patient, but fatten the wallets of testers and testing companies.
Ben Fuchs, R.Ph. (“Pharmacist Ben”) is the talk radio host of The Bright Side on the Genesis Radio Network. The program airs live Monday – Friday, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. CST. Or listen On Demand anytime.