GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Myth Busting

with 2 comments


When it comes to prostate cancer, there’s a lot of confusion about how to prevent it, find it early and the best way – or even whether – to treat it.

Below are six common prostate cancer myths along with research-based information from scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to help men separate fact from fiction.

Myth 1 – Eating tomato-based products such as ketchup and red pasta sauce prevents prostate cancer. “The vast majority of studies show no association,” said Alan Kristal, Dr.Ph., associate director of the Hutchinson Center’s Cancer Prevention Program and a national expert in prostate cancer prevention. (Source)    (Second Opinion)

Myth 2 – High testosterone levels increase the risk of prostate cancer. “This is a lovely hypothesis based on a very simplistic understanding of testosterone metabolism and its effect on prostate cancer. It is simply wrong,” Kristal said. Unlike estrogen and breast cancer, where there is a very strong relationship, testosterone levels have no association with prostate cancer risk, he said. (Source)    (Second Opinion)

Myth 3 – Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) decrease prostate cancer risk. “This sounds reasonable, based on an association of inflammation with prostate cancer and the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids,” Kristal said. However, two large, well-designed studies – including one led by Kristal that was published last year in the American Journal of Epidemiology – have shown that high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids increase the odds of developing high-risk prostate cancer.

Myth 4 – Dietary supplements can prevent prostate cancer. Several large, randomized trials that have looked at the impact of dietary supplements on the risk of various cancers, including prostate, have shown either no effect or, much more troubling, they have shown significantly increased risk. (Source)    (Second Opinion)

Myth 5 – We don’t know which prostate cancers detected by PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening need to be treated and which ones can be left alone. “Actually, we have a very good sense of which cancers have a very low risk of progression and which ones are highly likely to spread if left untreated,” said biostatistician Ruth Etzioni, Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division. (Source)    (Second Opinion)

Myth 6
– Only one in 50 men diagnosed with PSA screening benefits from treatment. “This number, which was released as a preliminary result from the European Randomized Study of Prostate Cancer Screening, is simply incorrect,” Etzioni said. “It suggests a very unfavorable harm-benefit ratio for PSA screening. It implies that for every man whose life is saved by PSA screening, almost 50 are overdiagnosed and overtreated.” (Source)    (Second Opinion)

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Written by Greg Naylor

27 October 2012 at 6:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. “Myth 5 – We don’t know which prostate cancers detected by PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening need to be treated and which ones can be left alone. “Actually, we have a very good sense of which cancers have a very low risk of progression and which ones are highly likely to spread if left untreated,””

    No, that’s not a myth. Although the risk of progression and death can be determined from the cancer grade, volume and PSA, it is still only the risk that can be determined, not the actual outcome in individual cases.

    Chris O'Neill

    28 October 2012 at 3:29 am

  2. Chris: Its Lee aka Popeye. I have read your comment quite a few times and re-reading Gregs Myth 5 Statement. I cannot answer for Greg on this and sadly Greg cannot discuss this further also. Soooooo here I go with my version of what has been written.
    The Myth 5 I see here is the opening statement of ” We don’t know which prostate cancers detected by PSA screening need to be treated and which ones can be left alone”
    A rising PSA on its own does not indicate cancer and therefore cannot discern what cancers pose a risk.
    A rising PSA is only an indication that further investigations may need to be carried out.
    It is these further investigations that will determine 1) If cancer exists. 2) To what extent the cancer is present.3) The aggressiveness of the the cancer(Gleason score) 4) The grade of the cancer. 5) is the cancer local or advanced.
    Summarising my understanding : Myth 5 A rising PSA score indicates you have cancer???? This I feel is the myth Greg was alluding to.
    Lee aka Popeye

    Lee Gallagher

    29 October 2012 at 10:16 pm


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