An inspiring story hit my inbox this morning, and I thought I had to share it with you all.
A 71-year-old man named Ken Malik living in Santa Rosa, CA is thriving despite a prostate cancer diagnosis. And he’s doing it in a very unconventional way.
If you read my book, you know I despise the word survivor as it relates to cancer. Of course, I am not delusional. I know that after one gets diagnosed with the big “C” word you think the big “D” word. But survivor implies just barely making it. I’m alive, sort of, by a thread. I prefer the word thriver where your diagnosis is an opportunity to live even better than you lived before.
Back to Ken.
Nearly 22 years ago, Ken was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Some of you know what that moment is like and how terrifying it can be. After getting diagnosed, Ken walked right through that terror and did something incredibly brave and unsual.
Instead of seeking conventional medical treatments like radiation or surgery to remove his prostate (prostatectomy), he went on a vegan diet and started smart supplementation (one tenet of my CaPLESS method). He started climbing mountains, doing yoga, meditating, and making an effort to laugh every day.
In short, he treated the source of his cancer—not the cancer itself.
Ken technically still has cancer, but has managed it well despite his and his latest PSA of 38. (It was around 8 at the time of his diagnosis.) However, his doctor recently told him that the cancer in his prostate hasn’t grown at all over the past 22-odd years.
PSA is a funky test that can cause unnecessary anxiety. In my clinical experience almost all men give it more value than it deserves.
Now, Ken is leading mountain expeditions for men who have prostate cancer.
Changing his life saved his life.
My take on not getting conventional treatment for Prostate Cancer
Before you start regretting your prostatectomy or wishing you hadn’t gone through radiation, let me say Ken Malik took an unbelievable risk. The methods he used, which are rightly called complementary medicine, are recommended as a “complement” to conventional methods—not as a treatment on their own. Hence the name.
Also, the decision to undergo conventional treatment or seek alternative methods is deeply personal, a lot to do with a person’s age, values and life goals, and, in the end, really has no “right answer.” If you got conventional treatment, I think it was probably the best decision for you.
That said, this one “case study” means a lot to me as a naturopathic doctor, especially when I monitor quite a few patients with prostate cancer only using lifestyle and natural therapies.
It’s a clear example that lifestyle changes can slow or even stop the progression of prostate cancer.
In light of this inspiring story, I’ll say this: it doesn’t matter whether or not you get conventional treatment for your prostate cancer. The fact of the matter is that changing your lifestyle is a necessary step to getting the most out of the remaining years in your life—no matter how many years there are.
For my patients, I recommend a series of lifestyle changes called the CaPLESS Method. These lifestyle changes include:
- Eating a clean, nutritious diet (not necessarily vegan like Ken Malik’s)
- Getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day (meaning, you have to sweat)
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night
- Establishing a solid stress management strategy
- Taking dietary supplements in an intelligent way to fill the inevitable gaps of an imperfect diet
The bottom line on lifestyle medicine for Prostate Cancer
Changing your lifestyle works. Whether or not you seek conventional treatment is up to you, but I guarantee that you will not regret adopting an anti-cancer lifestyle.