Prostate Cancer: A Naturopath's Path

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By: Wayne Diamond, N.D.
Wayne Diamond is a doctor of naturopathy who has developed and marketed several natural products through his company, Herpanacine. He had the experience of becoming a patient, himself, when a routine test for PSA (prostate specific antigen) led to a biopsy confirming that he had aggressive prostate cancer. What follows is his account of successful treatment with mistletoe (Viscum album). Naturopaths undergo four years of training in herbal therapies, nutrition and stress management. Some training programs include an internship, others not. Twelve states in the US license naturopaths.

Readers should be aware that as far as scientific credibility is concerned, testimonials like this bear no weight. They can only suggest an association (and not causality) between a treatment and the response. The shortage of large-scale clinical trials remains a serious problem for many alternative therapies. Research into formulations of mistletoe for cancer treatment has been accumulating over the past 15 years, and some of it is very positive. One study (Altern Ther Health Med. 2001;7(3):57-78), published in 2001, included 35 thousand cancer patients. Survival was 40% longer in those treated with the mistletoe formulation, Iscador. However, none of the patients in the trial had prostate cancer.

In December of 2000, the results of my routine yearly blood test showed my PSA level to be 217 (50 times normal), even though it had been completely unremarkable the previous year. The urologist’s biopsy and subsequent bone scans proved that I had a serious malignancy that had already spread beyond the prostate to 12 different bone sites (I had already begun to experience some unexplained pains in my ribs). It was a big shock to me and my wife, even though my father had had prostate cancer, and I knew that nearly 70 percent of those who get prostate cancer have a genetic predisposition passed down to them from their fathers.

My father had been successfully treated with the conventional hormone treatment (leuprelide acetate, Lupron). The drug shuts down testosterone production, but commonly produces side effects such as fatigue, gynecomastia (breast swelling) and emotional lability. My urologist suggested the same treatment, and I went on it, but could tolerate it for only two months. I felt increasingly sick and weak, and was excessively emotional, crying continually. My PSA went down by only 50 points, and I had severe pain at the tumor sites. I did manage to continue working, but was very discouraged. 

A psychotherapist friend of mine who had taken mistletoe, for breast cancer, recommended it, and based on that, plus my great respect for the work of Rudolf Steiner, I decided to try it. I went to the Thomas Jefferson Center for Integrative Medicine for treatment, where they determined that I should get injections at a dose of 5mg three times per week. The only side effect was a slight, non-itchy rash, or raised area, at the injection site. I started to feel better within two weeks. The pain diminished a bit, and I felt a sense of well-being. Within four-five months, bone scans showed reductions in the tumors, and my PSA had dropped dramatically. By 10 months, the tumors were gone and I was in remission.

I had also taken maitake mushroom extract for a few months, but eventually stopped because I thought the mistletoe was working. Since then, I have had my PSA tested monthly. Because I still have the genetic predisposition for it, my PSA goes back up periodically – as it did about 10 weeks ago, when it went from four (normal) to eight. As soon as that happens, I go back on mistletoe for about a month and a half (three times per week) to bring it back to normal. That usually holds for about four-five months. In December 2006, I will have been in that cycle for five years. The treatment costs about $130 per month.

In the last five years, I’ve had eight patients with various serious cancers for whom I’ve recommended it as the sole therapy, and it has been successful in each case. I also recommend supportive therapies, which include a vegetarian diet. Meats are very dense protein which stimulates a lot of stomach acid. The body heals faster with a more alkaline diet. So I recommend that patients get off meat, and plants from the nightshade group. That includes tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers and peanuts. Strongly anti-cancer vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage – they all produce enzymes that help the body to overcome abnormal cells.

Cancer also has a psychological component; it brings a lot of fear. As a trained psychotherapist (MS in Clinical Psychology), I encourage cancer patients to avoid suppressing their feelings. Fear, especially, is a powerful weakener of the immune system. Cancer patients need to be sure to have a strategy for dealing with their feelings adequately, and unfortunately, we don’t have good role models for that. Conventional physicians often evoke a lot of fear, and the chemotherapy and radiation, even if they succeed in producing a remission, often lead to recurrence because, like fear, they also put the body into a deteriorated state. As a naturopath, I used only natural products. Even if I had been diagnosed early enough to have surgery, I would not have had it because prostate cancers are rarely totally localized in the prostate gland.

I’m completely certain that mistletoe has a powerful effect on the immune system, and I’m very respectful of what it can do. I’m sure it saved my life.

Dr. Diamond can be reached at 215-242-9054.

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