“If one wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him.” — Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine (460-375 bce) The four areas of prevention discussed in this blog (proper structural alignment, reduced environmental toxins, healthy hormone balance, and having a reason to live) all play a big part in living a vibrant and vital life — not to mention having a healthy prostate. Proper Structural Alignment One of the keys to a happy prostate is having a healthy lower back. From your prostate’s prospective, the best way to have a solid structural alignment in your pelvis begins with a healthy lower back and sacrum (the bone at the base of our spine). Good posture, supportive discs, strong yet supple muscles and connective tissues all play important roles in keeping your pelvis in a “neutral” position with minimal stress and strain on your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is the “hammock” of muscles and connective tissue that hold all the organs of your pelvis in place. If your pelvic floor is too tight, too lose, or too tight in some places and too loose in others, then you’re going to have prostate problems. It’s as simple as that. If you’ve ever hurt your lower back or if your lower back feels “temperamental,” then you probably have a misaligned pelvis and an out-of-balance pelvic floor, which often results in an unhappy prostate. What’s the best way to improve the health of your pelvic floor, and therefore your prostate? A knowledgeable physical therapist or personal trainer who understands the right exercises to strengthen and open your lower back and pelvis is your best bet. Reduced Environmental Toxins Environmental toxins are everywhere, so how do you protect yourself from them? Simple: Don’t let them into your home. Get rid of the Round Up, dispose of any cleaning products that contain chemicals you cannot pronounce, remove all cleaning solvents, stop using insecticide sprays, and quit bleaching your sheets. It’s also a good idea to see if your shampoo, conditioner, soap, or lotion contain parabens or phthalates. If they do, throw them out and get new ones. Also, stop using insecticide “house bombs.” Those chemicals remain in your home for months (or years), which is good for killing bugs, but bad for your overall health — and your prostate. Healthy Hormone Balance A healthy testosterone level for men is in the “sweet spot” (500-900 ng/dl) right in the middle of the normal range (300-1050 ng/dl). Unfortunately, a man’s testosterone levels peak when he is about 20, and slowly decline by about 10 percent per decade — which can lead to a lower sex drive and loss of libido. What also leads to a lower libido is having a low testosterone/estrogen ratio. Yes, men have some estrogen in their bodies. That’s normal. What you want to avoid is when your testosterone levels fall and your estrogen levels rise. Men with low “T” and high “E” tend to have difficulty in the bedroom and also develop the most aggressive kinds of prostate cancer. How can you raise your T levels and lower you E levels? Stop eating soy foods (soybeans, tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame, soy milk, and soy protein in all sorts of vegetarian foods) Stop drinking beer (The hops in beer is highly “estrogenic.”) Avoid flax, flax seeds, and flax meal (Also, highly estrogenic.) Cut out sesame seeds, tahini, and hummus Go easy on the beans and peas (legumes) Stop drinking beverages in plastic bottles (The drinking water and other beverages in plastic bottles leach the estrogenic compounds into the liquid.) Having a Reason to Live Passion is the difference between “surviving” and “thriving,” “fun” and “fantastic.” What’s your passion? Is it your partner, your children, grandchildren, family, hobbies, work, friends, sports, a cause, your pets, making music … Whatever it is, hang on to it. Everyone needs a daily hit of that passionate feeling of being vibrant and fully alive. If you don’t have that feeling of passion in your life today, I invite you on a journey to find it. Chances are, you won’t have to look too far. Mark B. Saunders is a writer, editor, publisher, public speaker, and 11-year cancer survivor. As an active surveillance prostate cancer patient, Mark did not receive traditional treatment like surgery or some form of radiation. Instead, he dramatically overhauled his lifestyle and his cancer went away and hasn’t come back since. As a prostate cancer survivor, Mark has dedicated his life to sharing what he has learned about health and wellness. A journey that he calls, Inside out, round-about, and back again. Mark is the co-author of Prostate Cancer: A New Approach to Treatment and Healing and Do You Have Prostate Cancer: A Compact Guide to Diagnosis and Health September is National Prostate Health Month. Do what you can to stay healthy.
By Mark Saunders “A healthy prostate cannot exist in an unhealthy body.” — Dr. Jesse Stoff, M.D. “Prevention is bunk!” That’s what a prominent urologist shouted at the presenter during a prostate cancer symposium I attended recently. The audience chuckled politely, but I wanted to stand up and shout back, “No, it’s not.” But I was a guest at this symposium, and I’m not a doctor, so it wasn’t a level playing field. As an 11-year prostate cancer survivor who has co-written two books on the topic, however, I do have a few words to say about prostate cancer prevention. Basically, the same 8 things that keep your entire body healthy also keep your prostate healthy. Here they are: Diet & Nutrition Exercise Stress Management Rest & Sleep Proper Structural Alignment Reduced Environmental Toxins Healthy Hormone Balance Having a Reason to Live Diet & Nutrition Approximately 80 percent of your health begins with what’s on the end of your fork. If you are eating a low-inflammatory diet that is full of fresh vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables), lean protein, and healthy fats (olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil) — and low on sweeteners, desserts, grains, dairy, bread, pasta, crackers, legumes, and most nuts — then you’re off to a good start. If not, it’s time to make some changes. Exercise Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “Walking is the best medicine.” He was right. James Brown sang, “Get up offa that thing, and dance ‘till you feel better.” He was right too. Whether it’s at a desk, in a car, on a bus, in front of the TV … we all sit way too much. (I’m sitting right now as I write this blog.) Human beings were meant to move. Our ancestors were hunter/gathers, which cannot be done from a seated position. If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods at a time, set an alarm and get up and move every hour for at least five minutes. Even better, take a walk for 30 minutes during your lunch break. Better yet, get 30 minutes of strenuous exercise every day — the kind that makes you breathe hard. Stress Management If you want to pack on the fat, have your doctor inject you with insulin or hydrocortisone (cortisol). Cortisol is a steroid hormone that your body naturally releases during periods of stress. If you’re under stress, you body is releasing a lot of cortisol, which signals your body to store fat. The easiest way to reduce any kind of stress is deep breathing. Try it. For the next two minutes, I invite you to breathe deeply. At the end of two minutes, ask yourself if you still feel stressed. Rest & Sleep Study after medical study show that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night think their brains are functioning normally, but they consistently score lower on cognitive test than they do when they get 8 hours of sleep. The scores on these tests are even worse for people have consecutive nights of less than 6 hours of sleep. Coincidence? I think not. In order to have a healthy body, mind, and prostate, you need a full night’s sleep — that’s more than 6 hours. In other words, turn the TV off, put the novel down, say “good night” to your Facebook friends, and go to bed. I will cover Points 5-8 in Part II of this blog. Mark B. Saunders is a writer, editor, publisher, public speaker, and 11-year cancer survivor. As an active surveillance prostate cancer patient, Mark did not receive traditional treatment like surgery or some form of radiation. Instead, he dramatically overhauled his lifestyle and his cancer went away and hasn’t come back since. As a prostate cancer survivor, Mark has dedicated his life to sharing what he has learned about health and wellness. A journey that he calls, Inside out, round-about, and back again. Mark is the co-author of Prostate Cancer: A New Approach to Treatment and Healing and Do You Have Prostate Cancer: A Compact Guide to Diagnosis and Health September is National Prostate Health Month. Do what you can to stay healthy.
By Mark Saunders As a prostate cancer survivor and co-author of two books on the subject, I think it’s important to bring a little “awareness” to National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The art and science of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment are changing rapidly. For example, in July of this year, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article stating that the 10-year mortality rate for men with low-risk, low-volume, prostate cancer who elected to “observe” their cancer (In this study, observation ranged from doing nothing to making drastic lifestyle changes.) and those who had a “radical prostatectomy” (surgery) had statistically similar outcomes. In other words, approximately the same number of men died in both groups. Fifteen years ago, that information would have been considered heresy, and any doctor who prescribed “observation” to their prostate cancer patients would have been sued for malpractice and drummed out of the profession. Today, it’s state-of-the-art information. The general consensus on PSA testing has flip-flopped from “heaven sent” to a test that promotes too many invasive procedures like prostate biopsies and surgeries (which can leave men with lifelong “harms” such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction) to a good first line of defense against prostate cancer that signals there’s a problem going on in the prostate — without identifying what the problem actually is. Today, there several new highly specific biomarker tests that pick up where PSA testing leaves off (PCA3, SelectMDx, and 4Kscore). These blood and urine tests can identify whether a man is likely to have prostate cancer or not; eliminating the need to jump straight from an elevated PSA test to a prostate biopsy. If you or someone you know recently had a higher than normal PSA test, please let them know about these recent advances in biomarker testing. There are also several new tests that enhance a prostate biopsy’s ability to detect the presence of prostate cancer — especially if the biopsy results come back negative (25% of negative biopsies are “false negatives”). Even if the biopsy comes back positive for low-grade, low-risk prostate cancer, there are additional tests to determine if the cancer really truly is “low-grade, low-risk” — or if it is more aggressive (a wolf in sheep’s clothing). This type of leading-edge information provides men (and the people who love them) with the ability to make smart prostate treatment decisions. Without this kind of information, people are likely to make their treatment decisions based on whatever the first doctor they see tells them to do. In my opinion, National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month ought to begin with helping men become aware of their treatment options based on the kind of cancer (or other prostate condition) they have. Mark B. Saunders is a writer, editor, publisher, public speaker, and 11-year cancer survivor. As an active surveillance prostate cancer patient, Mark did not receive traditional treatment like surgery or some form of radiation. Instead, he dramatically overhauled his lifestyle and his cancer went away and hasn't come back since. As a prostate cancer survivor, Mark has dedicated his life to sharing what he has learned about health and wellness. A journey that he calls, Inside out, round-about, and back again.