Sunday, March 27, 2022

 When I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1995 I took a look at my diet and became very nutrition conscious. I always thought I ate pretty healthy, but it turned out many of the foods I was eating were not very prostate friendly. So I read and studied what I could find on the subject and adopted a Pescatarian diet with no dairy intake and the use of seafood a few days a week. I also read up on and looked into the use of supplements. The only one I was taking regularly at that time was Vitamin C. So I started taking a number of supplements as I was fearful that I was not getting proper nutrition even with the major change in my food intake. I spent a lot of money on all different kinds of supplements. But how could I be sure that I was taking the right ones?.

So I developed a system for evaluating whether the supplements I was adding were worthwhile specifically to control my prostate cancer progression. First I would take my PSA and get the new number before embarking on a new supplement. I would always buy a three month supply in order to give a fair amount of time to get a reaction. Unlike prescription drugs that the body reacts to almost immediately in most cases, supplements generally take time for the body to show any reaction. This is especially true of  anti-cancer supplements. I would then take another PSA test in 3 months and see if in fact this new supplement had a positive effect in slowing down my PSA level. If it did I would continue it's use. If not that supplement would be discontinued and I would continue my search. I still use that  strategy and it has worked for me and saved my a lot of money. I have also realized over time that what works successfully for one man does not necessarily work for the next. I've also notice that the positive effects of supplements in many cases tend to wear off over time. So evaluate my supplement intake at least once every year. I wonder what your experience has been with supplements personally?

These days, as a fixed income senior I don't take any near as many different supplements as I used to, money is a major consideration. The majority of supplements I take are for my general health (Vitamin B,C and D, Omega 3 fish oil, magnesium, baby aspirin) and not specifically for prostate cancer. 

I often get asked the question "If you had to give up all your supplements except one what would it be"? My answer: medical mushrooms. Most American's are not familiar with mushrooms except for in cooking. But Asian cultures have been using mushrooms for health for thousands of years. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of mushrooms not only to the human body but also for the welfare of everything on planet Earth check out "Fabulous Fungi" a great documentary film.

Life Extension magazine in their March 2022 has a very informative article about mushrooms titled "What's in Mushrooms That Supports Healthy Aging". It turns out there is an amino acid protein called L-ergothioneine that is found in all mushrooms, but sorry to say not produced by the human body. It may be a key anti-aging substance. Some interesting facts from a twenty year study of 15,000 Americans:

L-ergothioneine appears to protect DNA and reduce the shortening of telomeres

Europeans eat about five times more mushrooms than American's. 

Italians eat the most mushrooms. They live on average of 5 years longer than Americans. 84  vs 79. 

L-ergothioneine is associated with lower incidences of: cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, Parkinson's disease, Crohn's Disease, Frailty.

L-ergothioneine is associated with longer life expectancy.

L-ergothioneine has a sulfur containing group that puts it in a class related to glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants produced in the body. 

Mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of total mortality

Personally, my research and experience has been that mushrooms work better in combination than by themselves. There is a synergistic effect that makes them more powerful together than when taken alone. There are two companies that I like that produce medicinal mushrooms in easy to take capsule form. Medicinal mushrooms can be expensive. These are both affordable. The first is called "Ten Mushroom Formula" from a company called Econugenics in Santa Rosa ,California. The second: 14 Mushroom Blend from Duckbush Mushrooms in Sequim, WA.

I also cook regularly with Shitake and Portabello Mushroom. Bon Appetite.

 




 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Let’s Catch Up!

Greetings! The intention of this regular blog is to share with you what I have learned myself and from talking to so many men about prostate issues over the years. The end of March will mark the 27th year that I have been successfully dealing with prostate cancer. That's over a quarter of a century and one third of my life. Believe it or not it has been mostly a positive experience. I have had a good life since my diagnosis. Being diagnosed on my 50th birthday in 1995 and finding myself with no health insurance, I committed myself to taking a proactive position when it came to hopefully slowing the progression of my prostate cancer. We did not know much about how best to do that 25 years ago. So I guess you could say I am a bit of a pioneer. I will be 77 years old in late March. I have to tell you that the things that I do to keep my prostate cancer under control have paid dividends in all areas of my general health. All my vitals are great, with no cholesterol issues and no cardio vascular problems and with good numbers across the board.

At the time of my diagnosis at Stanford University I had recently returned from living and working overseas in Kuwait after the Gulf War. I had always been healthy and had let my health insurance lapse. So when I came back to the United States to find I had prostate cancer, what a scary and big wake up call! What could I do on my own without health insurance. I should say I am not a health professional although I learned a lot about conventional medicine working for an orthopedic division of Johnson and Johnson in the early days of successful hip and knee replacement surgery back in the Seventies. But as a social scientist, I looked around the world to determine what countries had high and low incidences of prostate cancer. (More on that in a future blog). 

I changed my diet dramatically.  First I eliminated all meat, poultry, dairy and fish and became a macrobiotic eater. This strategy did not really work for me. I was still working 60 hours a week in a stressful job,living by myself, and training for the New York City Marathon. I was not getting enough protein and my schedule had me exhausted. So I added back seafood into my diet for the protein, backed off marathon training and committed myself to a 40 hour work week. It worked. Here I am 27 years later living a satisfying active life and I'm still here to enjoy it.

Of course I did a lot of other things to slow down the progression of my prostate cancer. These include a regular exercise program, trying a number of supplements and stress management techniques. And of course I get prostate check ups regularly to make sure my strategy was working. In those days they called not rushing into conventional treatments Watchful Waiting.  I never liked that terminology. To me it sounded like waiting for the axe to fall. So I adopted the term "Aggressive Watchful Waiting", because I am so proactive with my health. Still, much of my family, friends and associates told me I was being foolish, that I was not going to be around for long. Others commended me for my courage and bravery. This Aggressive Watchful Waiting strategy is now called Active Surveillance, and as you probably know, has caught on to the point that much unnecessary treatment is being conducted these days.

Not only have I learned so much over the past twenty seven years, but conventional medicine has as well. The diagnostic tools have improved so much and are cutting edge. Deaths from prostate cancer have been reduced and there are new promising strategies and procedures coming out all the time. But the recurrence rates are still intolerable and late stage prostate cancer is terribly tough to go thru for men and their families.

The intention of this and future blogs is to share what I have learned on my own about prostate cancer and from the "Band of Brother" we have met over the years through the Prostate Awareness Foundation.

I would love to hear from you and get your feedback plus hear about your successes and concerns. The best way to reach me is: kamalik@prostateawarenessfoundation.org 

Have a great day and take care of your prostate.


Monday, May 13, 2019

It Can Happen to You!

I'm talking about finding out you have prostate cancer.
One in seven men in their life times get this bad news.
I did when I turned 50 as a birthday present. What a present!
Actually it turns out to have been a gift. My prostate cancer
is early stage, so with a prostate friendly diet, regular exercise and
a stress management program I have not progressed and have been
able to avoid conventional damaging treatments for the past 24 years..
Other men have not been as fortunate as me.
My brother in New York is one of them. He retired 2 months ago on his
65th birthday. Two months later he was told he has an aggressive Gleason 9
advanced prostate cancer. Fortunately he live in NYC and has access to
big cancer centers who are using the latest diagnostic tools and protocols.
His chances for longer term survival are pretty good.
So what's a man to do?
Get a PSA test at 40 to establish a baseline marker. (there is no such thing
as a normal PSA, every man has his own normal). Then get checked each year
and consider changing to a prostate friendly diet and increased exercise.
Wishing you good and sustainable prostate health.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Is a Sky Dive on Your Bucket List? it's on mine!
If your like me, being diagnosed with prostate cancer was a wake up call to say the least.
Once the fear wore off and I had a plan, other considerations came up!
Realizing my time on the planet had limits I decided that there were many things I wanted
to do and see in my time remaining.
Doing a Sky Dive was one of them.
So on Saturday, June 16th I will be participating in the Free Fallin' Sky Dive for Prostate Awareness.
We will jump at the Cloverdale Airport in northern Sonoma County. We do what is called a Tandem Jump which means all we have to do is show up, as we jump in tandem with an experienced expert on our back. So I"m looking forward to the view from 12,000' and sharing the experience with 14 other daredevils. (we had hoped to get 25 jumpers, so if you are interested in participating there is still time to get involved).

What's on your bucket list? Many people I talk with say: The Northern Lights, visiting all the continents, a hot air balloon ride, visiting Yosemite. Whatever it is, go for it.
Words to live by from Jack London:
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dryrot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
Jack London
1876-1916

Monday, October 22, 2018

Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer.
Do They Have It All Wrong?

    There has been a lot of excitement and advertising about the use of Immunotherapy for cancer.
As you may know, Provenge was the first pharmaceutical immunotherapy drug approved by the FDA and also by Medicare for prostate cancer treatment. In fact it was the first of these type drugs approved for any cancer.The concept of re-educating one's immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells with a minimum of side effects is a a great one.
    The original clinical trials were done on men with advanced prostate cancer. In these studies the men involved who took the Provenge were able to extend their lives by about 4 months. Those men in the placebo lived for about 10 months, those on the Provencge lived  for about 14 months
    The trend in treating advancing prostate cancer and in fact all the cancers has been toward individualized protocols. Treatment options are becoming more and more expensive. Provenge for example costs over $100,000 for the cycle. Money well spent if in fact it is effective. We will talk about the financial ramifications in another blog.
But I see a major flaw in the logic as to the "Standard of Care" for treating advanced prostate cancer.
Currently Provenge is used after all other prostate cancer interventions have not successfully stalled the cancer growth. After initial prostate cancer treatment like surgery, radiation, hormonal blockade and chemotherapy are used without success Provenge immunotherapy is used as a last resort. But the majority of medical professionals agree that there interventions, especially chemotherapy, compromise and reduce the natural power of one's immune system.
So why not administer Provenge as a first line treatment when the immune system is still strong and has the best chance for rejuveneation. It seems to me that this approach would have a better chance of success if used at the beginning not at the end of treatment.
We have researched and asked prostate cancer specialists and the pharmaceutical companies why no clinical trials are being done on early stage prostate cancer. No trials appear to be in the works or on the horizon.
What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts.




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Galectin-3 (Gal-3) - An Important Marker for Prostate Cancer

Never heard of Gal-3? Don't feel bad, most doctors or patients haven't either and aren't aware of it's importance. Personally, I have never felt comfortable relying just on a PSA test for my prostate well being. So I'm always on the lookout for additional markers to gauge not only my prostate health but my overall health in general.
When you have prostate cancer and are dealing with it with an active surveillance
protocol like me, monitoring progression or lack there of is critically importanat.
So over the years I've added other tests to my testing regiment to best gauge my prostate health.
These tests include: testosterone, cholesterol, albumin and C-Reactive protein.
I've recently found out about another test that I am adding: Galectin-3.
I took the Gal-3 test late last week and eagerly await the results. My objective is to find out what my Gal-3 number is but also to establish a baseline reading as a frame of reference just like I do with PSA.
According to the clinical literature, Gal-3 is measured in nanogram/millilters - ng/ml and the ranges are listed below:

  • Ideal Levels:14 to 12. ng/ml ( Cancer Patients - 12.0 mg/ml )
  • High Risk:14.0 to 17.8 ng/ml - indicates significant increased risks for cancer and overall mortality.
  • Extreme Risk: >17.8 ng/ml - advanced cancer and high mortality rate.

The Gal-3 test is approved by the FDA and Medicare.
It is usually prescribed by cardiologists for patients with heart disease. But there is a growing amount of research indicating the the Gal-3 blood test is also an important test for determining the aggressiveness of prostate cancer and it's progression.
Studies are indicating that excess Gal-3 in the body directly promotes unhealthy cell behaviors such as inflammation, uncontrolled abnormal cell growth, colony formation, inflammation and metastasis. 
The question then becomes: what can one do to lower Galectin-3 in the body. It turns out there is a natural way to accomplish this! Modified Citrus Pectin (Pectasol-c) is naturally attracted to Galectin-3, and it will bind and block over expressed Gal-3 molecules in the body.
It looks like MCP can prevent the growth and spread of prostate cancer. It is the only natural substance proven to block excess Gal-3.
So now that you know about the Gal-3 lab test I'm sure you will want to learn more about modified citrus pectin (MCP) and how and why it works!
Please look for my next Sustainable Prostate Blog to learn more about this important natural substance.
Wishing you and your prostate good health.



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What's on your "bucket list"?
When one gets a diagnosis of prostate cancer or any cancer for that matter one realizes that our time on the planet has limits. Many of us make plans to do things we have been dreaming about all of lives. For some, the list of things we want to do and see before we exit the planet take on a new priority. I've been fortunate that during the course of my life I've had some great adventures so my Bucket List is pretty short.. I've seen the Northern Lights, Pyramids, Machu Picchu, climbed the highest mountains in Africa, South America and Europe and traveled extensively. So I don't have a lot left on my bucket list. But a Sky Dive was way up there. But I did have momentary doubts about participating.. After all, 73 years old doesn't seem to be the ideal age to make the attempt! But why not give it a shot?
So I had an opportunity to jump out of a plane from 12,000' this last weekend and I took it. What an adrenaline rush! I jumped with 12 other dare devils on the 1st Annual Free Fallin' Sky Dive for Prostate Awareness fundraising event. We jumped from Cloverdale Municipal Airport in rural Sonoma County in Northern California. The airport was a tiny one which made the experience that much more intimate. NorCal Sky Diving, our provider attended to every detail and a great and exciting time was had by all.
The type of jump we did is called a Tandem Jump, which means we jumped with a seasoned professional sky diver harnessed on our backs. All we had to do is show up, no lessons. We watched a short safety video and off we flew to an attitude of 12,000'. Our team consisted of guys like myself with prostate cancer, others representing their fathers, grandfathers or other family members and friends afflicted with this epidemic disease, plus a number of young people living on the edge!
It took about twenty minutes to reach the desired altitude. When the cabin door opened and we felt the wind rushing in at 120 MPH we really experienced the stark reality of what we were about to do. You just have to keep your composure, positive spirit, faith and survival instinct and stay focused! So, off we jumped into space. Traveling weightlessly at 120 MPH with the wind roaring in your ears is an experience like no other.
After about 60 seconds of free falling the feeling of the parachute opening was a welcome one. Then another 5 minutes or so of elation before the great feeling of touching down on the welcome Earth.
What an memorable experience. One comes away with so many different emotions: triumph, relief, exhaustion and pride to name a few.
Is a Sky Dive on your Bucket List? Great, we will be doing the 2nd Annual Free Fallin' Sky Dive for Prostate Awareness next June, 2019.
Video to follow shortly at www.prostateawarenessfoundation.org