The prostate is a male sex gland, part of a man's reproductive system. The prostate is about the size of a walnut. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Cancer of the prostate is the most common malignancy in American men. It is estimated that this year in the United States nearly 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 40,000 men will die from this disease. In the majority of men with prostate cancer, it is very slow growing, and most of these men die with prostate cancer and not from it. Early prostate cancer is localized (confined) to the gland, and the majority of patients with localized prostate cancer have a long survival after diagnosis.
All men are at risk. The most profound risk factor is age. The average age at diagnosis is 65, and the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer for a 50 year old is about 10 percent. African American men have a 30 to 50 percent higher risk of prostate cancer than white Americans. Dramatic differences in the incidence of prostate cancer are seen in different countries, and there is some evidence that a diet higher in animal fat may, in part, underlie these differences in risk. Genetic factors play a role, particularly for families in whom the diagnosis is made in men under 60 years of age, and the risk of prostate cancer rises with the number of close relatives who have the disease.
Prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms for many years. By the time symptoms occur, the disease may have spread beyond the prostate. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
- frequent urination, especially at night,
- inability to urinate,
- trouble starting or holding back urination,
- a weak or interrupted urine flow,
- frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
The above symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer or by a variety of other conditions. As men get older, their prostate may grow bigger and block the flow of urine or interfere with sexual function. This common benign prostate condition, which is not cancer, can cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer. Although an enlarged prostate gland - a condition called benign prostate hyperplasia - may not be a threat to life, it may require treatment with medicine or surgery to relieve symptoms.
Two tests are commonly used to detect prostate cancer in the absence of any symptoms. One is the digital rectal exam, in which a doctor feels the prostate through the rectum to find hard or lumpy areas. The other is a blood test used to detect a substance made by the prostate called prostate specific antigen (PSA). Together, these tests can detect the majority of silent prostate cancers, those that have not caused symptoms.
Prostate cancer is characterized by both grade and stage. The appearance of the prostate cancer under the microscope can be described - or graded - by the pathologist as low-, medium-, or high-grade cancer. Staging of prostate cancer means determining the site and location of the disease.
- Stage I (A)--The cancer cannot be detected by rectal exam and causes no symptoms. The cancer is usually found during surgery to relieve problems with urination. State I tumors may be in more than one area of the prostate, but there is no evidence of spread outside the prostate.
- Stage II (B)--The tumor is felt in a rectal exam or detected by a blood test, but there is no evidence that the cancer has spread outside the prostate.
- Stage III (C)--The cancer has spread outside the prostate to nearby tissues.
- Stage IV (D)--Cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.
Standard medical treatment for patients with localized prostate cancer usually involves the following options:
- radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of entire prostate gland and nearby tissue),
- radiation therapy (high-energy rays are used to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and dividing),
- hormone therapy (to prevent the prostate cancer cells from getting the male hormones they need to grow),
- surveillance (also called watchful waiting).
The side effects of cancer treatment depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. Also, each patient reacts differently. Here are some common side effects of medical treatment of prostate cancer:
- SURGERY: Although patients are often uncomfortable during the first few days after surgery, their pain can be controlled with medicine. Patients should feel free to discuss pain relief with the doctor or nurse. It is also common for patients to feel tired or weak for a while. The length of time it takes to recover from an operation varies for each patient. Surgery to remove the prostate may cause permanent impotence and sometimes causes urinary incontinence. These side effects are somewhat less common than in the past. Some surgeons use new methods, especially when removing small tumors. These techniques, called nerve-sparing surgery, may prevent permanent injury to the nerves that control erection and damage to the opening of the bladder. When this surgery is fully successful, impotence and urinary incontinence are only temporary. However, men who have a prostatectomy no longer produce semen, so they have dry orgasms.
- RADIATION THERAPY: Radiation therapy may cause patients to become very tired as treatment continues. Resting is important, but doctors usually advise patients to try to stay as active as they can. Patients may have diarrhea or frequent and uncomfortable urination. In addition, when patients receive external radiation therapy, it is common for the skin in the treated area to become red, dry, and tender. Radiation therapy can also cause hair loss in the pelvic area. The loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the amount of radiation used. Radiation therapy causes impotence in some men. This does not occur as often with internal radiation therapy as with external radiation therapy; internal radiation therapy is not as likely to damage the nerves that control erection.
- HORMONE THERAPY: Orchiectomy, LHRH agonists, and estrogen often cause side effects such as loss of sexual desire, impotence, and hot flashes. When first taken, an LHRH agonist tends to increase tumor growth and may make the patient's symptoms worse. This temporary problem is called "tumor flare." Gradually, however, the drug causes a man's testosterone level to fall. Without testosterone, tumor growth slows down and the patient's condition improves. Prostate cancer patients who receive estrogen or an antiandrogen may have nausea, vomiting, or tenderness and swelling of the breasts. (Estrogen is used less now than in the past because it increases a man's risk of heart problems. This form of treatment is not appropriate for men who have a history of heart disease.)
(NOTE: The above information comes from the National Cancer Institute.)
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE OF CANCER
Edgar Cayce gave many readings for persons suffering from a wide variety of cancerous conditions. Here are some of the key points to consider with regard to Edgar Cayce's perspective of cancer.
- CANCER IS AN ENTITY UNTO ITSELF. In most cases, cancer is a group of cells or tissues which separates ("segregates") itself and forms its own entity within the larger system of the body. In a sense, cancer has its own separate identity like a parasite which infests a host organism.
- CANCER REPRESENTS A FAILURE OF NATURAL PROCESSES. Edgar Cayce observed that the same processes which result in cancer are present in the body all the time. Cancer usually results from the failure of natural processes such as coagulation and elimination of wastes.
- CANCER DRAWS FROM THE VITALITY OF THE BODY. Cancer uses the body's life-force energy to survive. Like any parasite, cancer is a drain upon the resources of the host organism.
- CANCER HAS MANY CAUSES. There are many etiological (causative) factors associated with cancer. Heredity, environmental toxicity, poor eliminations, injury, lack of vitality, and depleted immune system were the most often cited factors linked to cancer. Specifically, chronic irritation or bruising were often said to be triggering factors producing tumors which could become malignant.
- THERE ARE MANY FORMS OF CANCER. Edgar Cayce recognized the various kinds of cancer. On two occasions he stated that there are nineteen forms of cancer.
- CANCER CAN OFTEN BE PREVENTED. According to Edgar Cayce, keeping a healthy diet and good eliminations can help prevent cancer. Specific therapies such as iodex and ash ointment and plantain salve were recommended by Cayce to prevent lumps and tumors from becoming malignant. Gentle osteopathic treatment was also often prescribed to set up "drainages" and improve eliminations thus decreasing the chances for cancer.
- EARLY TREATMENT RESULTS IN BETTER PROGNOSIS. In agreement with modern medicine's view of cancer treatment, Edgar Cayce noted that early intervention produces better therapeutic results.
- CANCER INVOLVES MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL ASPECTS. Edgar Cayce's holistic approach to health and healing is notable in the readings he gave for person's suffering from cancer. The mental and spiritual aspects of prevention and treatment were strongly emphasized. Cayce also stated that excessive worry and negative attitudes can make a person with a genetic predisposition for cancer more vulnerable to developing the illness.
- CANCER IS SOMETIMES A KARMIC PATTERN. Consistent with the perennial philosophy which acknowledges the continuity of consciousness, Edgar Cayce observed that in some cases cancer can result from past life experiences.
- THE TREATMENT OF CANCER INVOLVES MANY MODALITIES. Edgar Cayce recommended a wide variety of therapeutic modalities for the treatment of cancer. Treatments directed at decreasing toxicity and increasing vitality were emphasized. On the whole, natural therapies that worked with the body to heal itself were given priority.
- EDGAR CAYCE SOMETIMES RECOMMENDED SURGERY AND RADIATION. In certain cases where the cancer was progressive and extreme, surgery and/or radiation therapy were recommended. Modern chemotherapy techniques were not available during Edgar Cayce's era.
- SOME CASES OF CANCER WERE REGARDED AS INCURABLE. Although Edgar Cayce was generally optimistic with regard to the body's innate ability to heal itself from almost any illness, in some cases of cancer the disease was too advanced to expect a physical cure. In such instances, Cayce would recommend therapies to decrease the pain and suffering while emphasizing the mental/spiritual (soul) aspects of healing.
EDGAR CAYCE'S APPROACH TO PROSTATE CANCER
Although Edgar Cayce gave many readings for persons with prostate problems, only one is clearly identified as involving prostate cancer. Reading 2911-1 given in 1943 for a 63 year-old man. The condition was serious. The medical prognosis was grim - the cancer was advanced and had spread to the kidneys and bladder. The doctors treating this man said that he did not have long to live.
Edgar Cayce suggested that the first priority be a shift to a more spiritual attitude with regard to the illness and the approach to healing. As Edgar Cayce noted:
We find here that the body should consider more of the spiritual than the material things of life. While there may be yet much accomplished by this body, these should be the attitudes of the body. For, it is meeting itself in its own activities...
Then, keep the mental attitude in that way of knowing in what there is life, light and immortality. It is not all of death to die, nor all of life to live. When there is sought that peace with Him, this may be had. For His promises are sure.
With this shift in the mental and spiritual attitudes, the typical recommendations for the treatment of cancer were given. Ultraviolet therapy with animated ash was prescribed. When asked if an operation was inevitable, Edgar Cayce responded that it depended upon the attitude of the man and the response that his body made to therapy. In other words, surgery was not ruled out. The choice was left to Mr. 2911.
Although the follow-up reports for this case do not indicate the outcome, it is likely that the man never applied Edgar Cayce's recommendations. Within a few weeks after the reading, he was receiving radiation therapy while experiencing severe symptoms of the disease.
EDGAR CAYCE'S THERAPEUTIC APPROACH
Based on reading 2911-1 and other readings given for persons with various forms of cancer, the following therapeutic interventions are recommended for persons suffering from prostate cancer:
- Improve eliminations and decrease toxicity via diet, manual therapy (spinal manipulation), and hydrotherapy (castor oil packs and colon therapy);
- Utilize ultra-violet light therapy and animated ash to assist the system in fighting the cancer;
- Increase vitality with beef juice and manual therapy;
- Create constructive attitudes and emotions by working with the Ideals Exercise.
Keep in mind that the Edgar Cayce approach is complementary to the conventional medical approach. This means that it can be used in addition to other forms of treatment. This approach does not require you to stop other forms of treatment. Work closely with your physician in developing a treatment plan that is best for you.