What causes prostate cancer?

What causes prostate cancer?

Research is increasingly clear that prostate cancer risk is not linked to high testosterone but that the female hormone oestrogen (estrogen), saturated fat consumption, low melatonin, low vitamin D and infection are more likely causes.

In Autumn 2003 Cancer Research UK issued a press release about a finding on Prostate Cancer. Within this press release, the head scientist at Cancer Research was quoted as saying, "We do not know what causes prostate cancer".

Open quotesProstate cancer is set to become the Western world’s number one cancerClose quotes

This may have come as alarming news to the increasing numbers of men over 50 in the Western world who were being treated for the disease with testosterone lowering high doses of oestrogen and even castration. If you don’t actually know what causes it, how can you treat it with any degree of accuracy?

Prostate cancer is set to become the Western world’s number 1 cancer. Although various agencies will state that the lifetime risk is just one in thirteen or 7/8 per cent, these figures are not borne out in reality once a man hits the ripe old age of 50. For him, his chances of being diagnosed are more like 33 per cent. In the USA it approaches 40 per cent. By the age of 70, it is 70%. In this article - updated from 2009, we look at what is known about .....

The Causes of Prostate Cancer

When we asked the Helpline at the Prostate Cancer Charity in Hammersmith for the reasons for the epidemic they answered that this was due to better diagnosis.

In fact this is just not the case. Men over 50 are subjected to ’Digital Rectal Examinations’. This state of the art testing procedure merely tells you the offending gland is swollen. Then follows a PSA test. At best this is 70 per cent accurate - in America it is considered almost useless.

Exercise or dairy consumed in the previous 24 hours can give false and high readings setting off the alarm bells. Professor Julian Peto of Oxford University (and Cancer Research UK) at a recent conference to cancer carers said 90 per cent of doctors under 35 surveyed on the PSA test won’t bother to have one when they get to 50 because it is so inaccurate. Even scans are less than perfect as a friend of mine can testify to. He was rushed in to hospital because of secondaries on the scan, only to find there were none.

As an alternative, you might ask about PMSA testing, DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) tests and keep your fingers crossed that the new urine test from East Anglia Medical School arrives on the mass market soon.

But then the charities in both the USA and the UK are united with statements such as "90 per cent of all prostate cancers are slow-growing and can be left for ten years or more". In Los Angeles, one infamous research study looked at men over 50 years of age who were killed in car crashes. Over half were driving around with prostate cancer totally oblivious to the disease!

Open quotes90 per cent of all prostate cancers are slow-growing and can be left for ten years or moreClose quotes

On one occasion when I spoke on the subject, a doctor from Salisbury approached me. "I’ve been a doctor for over 30 years and for the last ten or so when patients had prostate cancer, I’ve been telling them it is linked to high testosterone levels. Now I’ve got it myself, I’ve searched everywhere, but I can find absolutely no evidence that testosterone either causes or spreads prostate cancer. What is the truth?"

     * Link to saturated fat - We have reported before that Swedish research shows a direct line correlation between dairy consumed and prostate cancer risk. The Singapore National Cancer Centre (March 2003) showed that IGF-1 within milk is linked to prostate cell proliferation (but not necessarily malignancy - although the NCI in the USA says it is linked). Whole milk intake is linked with prostate cancer. Dietary fat has also been linked to aggression in advanced states of prostate cancer. There is even research on a link between saturated fat  consumption during your formative years and prostate cancer later in life!

Glass of milk

     * Oestrogen and prostate cancer - The Singapore National Cancer Centre have also shown that anti-oestrogen drugs actually can reduce the size of an enlarged prostate. The Monash Cancer Institute in Australia concluded that localised oestrogen drives prostate cancer, although you have to have both oestrogen and testosterone present. Australian research from Concord Cancer Centre in Sydney concluded that anti-oestrogens Detasteride and Finasteride could reduce the size of benign but swollen prostates.   

So clearly oestrogen is an influence in the prostate.

     * Xenoestrogens -Concord researchers went a step further. They concluded that oestrogen caused prostate cancer; and like a number of other studies produced research to show that oestrogen and oestrogen mimics or xenoestrogens (chemicals that surround us everyday and once they enter our bodies also mimic the action of oestrogen) are responsible for decreased sperm counts. Russian research from the Moscow Cancer Centre shows that oestrogen mimics also deplete folic acid levels, while the Athlone Technology Institute in Ireland has shown they weaken our immune systems.

     * Both estrogen and testosterone needed for prostate cancer - Then in 2006 came the explanation from Dr Thompson from the University of Texas Cancer Centre in Houston. Testosterone is not the poisoner of our prostates. Localised oestrogen converts this natural hormone into Dihydroterstosterone or DHT, a highly carcinogenic factor, which does the damage. 

But then we have it. A female hormone (and toxic chemicals that mimic it) causing everything from decreased sperm counts to prostate cancer.

     * Low melatonin - produced by poor sleeping habits, night shift work, long-haul air travel - is linked to higher levels of oestrogen in both men and women. More prostate cancer and more breast cancer is the result (and others like lung and colorectal cancer too). You can supplement before bed. but your gut bacteria, not just your pineal gland, produce it. 

     * Infection - swollen prostate is a common factor prior to prostate cancer. Most Scientific studies talk of 'Highly Inflammatory Prostate cancer'. Apart from oestrogen, infection could cause this. By infection we mean pathogens, parasites, yeasts and viruses. The Herpes Simplex virus is linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer, and higher levels of HPV are found in men with prostate cancer. The Human Microbiome was the first to tell us that the volume of good bacteria in the gut had declined, strains had been lost, and pathogens had increased. Gut bacteria are linked to prostate cancer. 

Go to: Prostate Cancer Overview - symptoms, causes and treatment alternatives

Prostate cancer and inflammtion of the prostate have also been linked to urinary tract infections

     * Low Vitamin D - Research has shown that your vitamin D levels are highly predictive of biopsy outcomes. Men with blood vitamin D levels below 12 ng/ml had Gleason scores greater than 4+4. Boston Medical School, the experts in vitamin D, suggest ideal levels should be greater than 70 ng/ml.  Supplementation of vitamin D (5,000IUs per day, if you cannot have 4 hours in the sunshine) has been shown to restrict the spread of the disease.

     * Being overweight or obese - Obesity is linked to poor blood sugar control, heightened insulin, IGF-1 and leptin levels, insulin resistance and higher blood fat levels. And, yes, it is a higher risk factor for prostate cancer.

     * Smoking and prostate cancer -  In a study of 2400 prostate cancer patients, those who continued to smoke fared worse with lowered survival. A meta-analysis showed that smoking increased risk, increased aggression, and increased fatal prostate cancer. The heaviest smokers had 24-30% greater risk of dying from prostate cancer. Even past smokers had a higher risk. 

Go to: Prostate cancer - Latest News, Latest Research

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