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ABC NEWS on Prostate Cancer

Watchful Waiting on Prostate Cancer

By Denise Dador

 Six years ago, doctors told Pastor Richard Anderson he had the beginning stages of prostate cancer. Everyone urged him to act fast.

Cut it out and get rid of it. And a doctor friend of mine just said the same thing, very strongly," Anderson said.

While the risks of incontinence and impotence concerned him, Richard scheduled surgery. The first opening was five weeks away. While he waited, he made some changes.

"I took all the sugar out of my diet and I began to take [plant saccharides] and carotenoid complex and flavanoid complex," Anderson said.

Within a month, his PSA numbers dropped.

"They came back normal, it was a real sense of relief," Anderson said.

Richard canceled surgery. Now six years later, the cancer remains in check.

"The last thing you want to do is have a treatment that's worse than the disease. That makes no sense," Dr. Kenneth Lam, of Huntington Hospital, said.

Lam, the director of Huntington Hospital's Prostate Cancer Center says the latest research shows in most cases delaying treatment for two, three even five years won't change the outcome.

"You can still have an excellent chance of curing the cancer, so delaying treatment definitely does not put most patients with prostate cancer in jeopardy," Lam said.

But many experts strongly believe treatment offers men peace of mind. Waiting can be especially difficult when men have had loved ones die from the disease.

The director of City of Hope's Prostate Cancer Program says if men want options early diagnosis is key. They should schedule annual physical exams and regular PSA tests.

Dr. Lam says the day will come when men won't have to choose between death or side effects. New drug therapies could someday turn prostate cancer into a chronic illness. Until then, his advice is to take your time.

"Surgery is a fine treatment, radiation is a fine treatment, but never rush into a treatment without getting not only a second opinion, but I advise a third, fourth or maybe fifth opinion," Lam said.

"As a praying man, I say pray, but go in the direction you believe is best for you," Anderson said.


Last Updated ( Sep 27, 2012 at 02:43 PM )