Are the side effect worth it?

The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO) enrolled 76,705 men, aged 55 to 74 years, at 10 screening sites nationwide from 1993 to 2001.

• Prostate cancer survivors (529) were compared to participants without prostate cancer (514) for 5 to 10 years post-diagnosis.

  • Survivors were compared to non-cancer participants on disease-specific functioning and adverse effects from the treatment used
  • Participants completed a telephone interview regarding prostate cancer–specific symptoms. Medical, surgical, and other treatments received for urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning were assessed.
  • Results demonstrated poorer sexual and urinary function among prostate cancer survivors vs noncancer control participants on weighted linear regression analyses
  • Compared with patients who underwent radical prostatectomy ( 201), patients who received radiation therapy ( 110) reported better sexual and urinary functioning but poorer bowel outcomes.
  • Survivors who received treatment combinations including androgen deprivation (207) reported significantly poorer hormone-related symptoms vs patients who underwent radical prostatectomy

My take on this:

The PLCO trial is one of the main trials that prompted the United States Preventive Task Force (USPTF) to conclude that PSA should not be used for prostate cancer screening as it does not decrease prostate cancer specific mortality. It is the largest database of its kind and scientific data will continue to be published until the year 2015 from the PLCO.

These results are bitter sweet to me.

On one end, some erectile dysfunction, urinary or bowel problems is not much of a problem as long as you are alive – some may argue.

On the other hand, 87% diagnosed with prostate cancer at baseline had Stage II disease. A bulk of these men could have conceivably been eligible for Active Surveillance and likely not have died from their disease.

Having bowel, urinary and/or erectile problems unnecessarily is a huge bummer.

Another thing. Clinically I see men who undergo, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or surgery that do exceptionally well if they follow an intensive nutritional program consisting of high quality supplements and a plant based nutritional regimen.

It seems like these nutrients protect the healthy cells while the cancerous cells are destroyed. No bowel incontinence, minimal urinary incontinence and moderate erectile response after mainstream treatment had been my extensive experience in this area.

One patient undergoing radiation therapy for PSA recurrence post – surgery said he felt so doing the supplement and nutrition program during and after radiation that he thought the radiation did not work. “After all,” he said, “ I assumed I had to feel like shit to get my PSA back down with radiation.” His PSA is undetectable last time I saw him 6 months ago.

This has not been objectively studied, unfortunately, and this underscores the need for research in integrative modalities for prostate cancer.


Taylor KL, Luta G, Miller AB, Church TR, Kelly SP, Muenz LR, Davis KM, Dawson DL, Edmond S, Reding D, Mabie JE, Riley TL. Long-term disease-specific functioning among prostate cancer survivors and noncancer controls in the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Aug 1;30(22):2768-75.


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