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Reduce Oxidative Stress. An antioxidant is a molecule that helps protect cells from the damaging effects of unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are released in the body from the detoxification system of your liver to fight toxins, such as artificial food colorings and flavorings, smog, preservatives in processed foods, alcohol, cigarette smoke, and pesticides. Some free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are needed for normal cellular function but often the amount of free radicals can overwhelm the body, causing what is called oxidative stress and, if left unchecked, can ignite bouts of inflammation that further fuels cancer growth.
However, feeding yourself with balanced antioxidants can eliminate free radicals and calm these storms of inflammation. Another method of boosting the body's antioxidant abilities is to stimulate the production of glutathione. Studies show that many cancer patients do not produce enough glutathione, which requires key nutrients like selenium and cysteine for its production.
Modulating Inflammation. Think of inflammation as a wildfire. When it gets out of control, it can spread, grow, and consume everything around it. In the body, inflammation acts like fuel for PC cells and makes them grow and spread at a faster rate. Research shows that this activity relies on the presence of the inflammatory marker that include nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), cyclooxygenase (COX), and interleukins (IL-6).12 Interfering with the production of these inflammatory chemicals makes prostate cancer cells vulnerable and may reduce the formation and progression of cancer cells.
Improve Detoxification. Despite the digestive system's impressive ability to keep dangerous chemicals out of the body, some harmful substances can still make it to the bloodstream, such as environmental carcinogenic compounds that promote prostate cancer; for example, cadmium, mercury, and xenoestrogens such as BPA.13 So the body needs the essential nutrients to further rid it of toxins and remove procancer compounds.
The CaPLESS Method
I recently had the opportunity of writing a jacket comment for Espinosa's new book, Thrive – Don't Only Survive: Dr. Geo's Guide to Living your Best Life Before and After Prostate Cancer. Dr. Geo is a unique figure in the world of urology. He heads the Integrative and Functional Urology Center at the Langone Medical Center, which complements the NYU Urology Department's mainstream medical care and addresses the nutritional, emotional, social, and psychological needs of patients with urologic conditions, including of course PC.
In the book, Dr. Geo describes his comprehensive CaPLESS Method.CaPLESS stands for: CaP (carcinoma of the prostate; medical jargon for "prostate cancer"), while "L" is for "lifestyle," "E" is for "exercise," "S" is for sleep (and stress), and the last "S" is for "supplementation." The CaPLESS Method is a science--based intervention program of lifestyle and behavior modification, which attempts to create a microenvironment that is hostile to prostate cancer.11
It addresses the five areas that affects prostate cancer development and progression: reducing oxidative stress, sustaining strong immunity, lowering chronic inflammation, supporting detoxification and biotransformation, and controlling blood sugar and insulin levels. The program is too long and extensive to detail in this column; however, here are some major takeaways from the CaPLESS system highlighted in Dr. Geo's book:
- Selenium from high-selenium yeast may offer some protection against prostate cancer based on a 1996 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) showing a 63% decrease in prostate cancer in those consuming 200 mcg this form of selenium.14
- Exercise with moderate intensity for 3 hours a week helps reduce the risk of death from prostate cancer in diagnosed men.15
- Low consumption of carbohydrates and sugar has been shown to manage metabolic syndrome, a condition known to increase cardiovascular risk and increase prostate–cancer specific mortality.16
- Cruciferous vegetables are particularly protective against prostate cancer and include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, arugula, and collard greens. They are rich in the nutrients glucosinolates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), known to be specifically beneficial for prostate cancer.17
I see a global significance to what is happening at NYU's Urology Department under its innovative director, Herbert Lepor, MD. Instead of pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into proton beam accelerators, as some cancer centers have done, NYU has invested in people who can bring truly innovative treatments to their patients. This has taken the form of advanced diagnostic equipment, such as 3-Tesla MRI and fusion biopsies, and of ablative techniques that avoid ionizing radiation, but destroy tumors focally with heat, sound, light, and so on.
A pioneer of this approach at NYU is the distinguished urologist Samir S. Taneja, MD. Author of over 240 PubMed-indexed journal articles, Taneja has been "pushing the envelope" of what is possible using cryoablation (cold probes), radiofrequency ablation (heat through radio waves), and HIFU (the use of ultrasound waves) to target just the tumor and some surrounding tissue, while avoiding the unnecessarily destruction of normal tissue in many cases.
Focal ablation appears to be as effective in many cases as traditional radiation and surgery, and it mitigates or avoids entirely the worst after effects of more radical therapies (such as urinary incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction). By hiring Dr. Geo and making him an integral part of their team, Lepor, Taneja, and the other NYU urologists have opened the door to what were once controversial naturopathic techniques. This constitutes a broadening of the concept of "active surveillance," to include nutrition, supplements, and other lifestyle modifications.
NYU Langone has broken through the barrier separating "conventional" from "nonconventional" treatments and truly integrated naturopathy into its daily practice. One can only hope that other departments will emulate this model, and that "integrative oncology" will become a reality throughout the US and beyond.
© 2016 Ralph W. Moss, PhD
Ralph W. Moss, PhD, is the author of 12 books on cancer-related topics. The former science writer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, for 35 years Moss has investigated the validity of many cancer treatments. He currently directs the Moss Reports, a library of reports for patients on over 200 different cancer diagnoses.
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