Prostate Cancer; Patient regrets radiation treatment…

…saying that he would have preferred “close surveillance.”

A 67-year old Massachusetts man consulted with a number of physicians in the Boston area; and although they didn’t all agree on the recommended treatment regimen, he reports that they did agree on one thing:

 I asked about ‘close surveillance’ and they said, no, you have to do something!

The PSA Blue Ribbon

So he did—and later regretted it. (See link below to his story in the Boston Globe.) Since publishing a blog a few weeks ago on this topic (Professor of medicine says NO to the PSA test…) I have heard from lots of people, some of whom say that they would not be alive today had they not had the PSA test and the prescribed treatment of surgery and radiation. No doubt, there are millions of stories on both sides of this debate.

In my opinion, the preferred method for fighting cancer is by preventing it—primarily by not providing a hospitable host body, in which cancer can grow and spread. I recall a book by a scientist friend of mine—Raymond Francis, author of Never Be Sick Again. In that book, he said that there was really only one disease and it only had two causes.

  • The one disease is “malfunctioning cells.”
  • The two causes: (1) Not enough of the health-promoting nutrients that the body needs. (2) Too many toxins that the cells do not need.

Published by BenBella — October 2011

As for nutrients and toxins. In our book, I reported how the body replaces about ten trillion cells per year. And the only raw material it has to work with (other than water and air) is the food that we eat. Therefore, I concluded that I would try to make every bite count. After doing the math, I computed that the health of approximately 100 million new cells is riding on every single bite of food that we put in our mouths.

It turns out that the best food for getting all the right nutrients is whole plants. We also get most of those un-needed toxins in our food supply—particularly if we’re eating a meat and dairy based diet.

According to the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, it seems that the lifelong consumption of the toxic western diet creates just the right environment for cancer to thrive. By simply eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, we could probably prevent 80% of the cancer cases in this country.

But most men trying to decide whether or not to have surgery or radiation are men who’ve been eating that toxic western diet for 50 years or more. And it’s tough for them to decide what they should do. A sad situation indeed.

Deborah Kotz, The Boston Globe

As you can see from this anecdote reported in the Boston Globe, at least one man in Massachusetts wishes he’d never agreed to have the treatment that was recommended by his physicians. From the 7-23-12 Deborah Kotz article; here’s his story (See link below to full article)

Walter Chorney of North Attleboro told me in an e-mail and subsequent phone conversation that he regretted having radiation treatment for his early stage prostate cancer, after experiencing pain and bleeding for 19 months after treatment. Nearly three years ago, Chorney was told, at age 67, that his elevated PSA of 2.7 ng/ml required him to get a biopsy. Only one tissue sample out of 12 taken showed cancer, but the cancer was deemed to be moderately aggressive based on the look of the cells under the microscope.

Chorney consulted several doctors at Boston-area hospitals, and some suggested surgery, while others advised radiation. None recommended that he do what he actually preferred: surveillance of the cancer with no immediate surgery or radiation. “I asked about it and they said, no, you have to do something,” Chorney told me.

After doing online research and interviews with prostate cancer specialists, Chorney said he settled on radiation treatments using a newer robot-assisted technique called Cyberknife that targets only the tumor without destroying the entire prostate. He was comforted by the low rate of side effects; the website said moderate to severe urinary problems occur in “0 to 3.5 percent” of patients and bowel problems occur in “0 to 2 percent” of patients.

Regardless, Chorney was one of the unlucky ones who experienced lingering symptoms after his five rounds of radiation treatments over the course of a week. He had severe abdominal pain, bleeding when he urinated, and the urge to void his bladder every 20 minutes. Once he was nearly arrested after he pulled his bike over to the side of the road to urinate during a four-mile ride to a store.

“I was miserable for over a year,” Chorney wrote to me. “The radiation killed the small amount of cancer but zapped me physically and mentally.”

He finally found relief this past January after having surgery to reduce the size of his prostate, which had become enlarged following the radiation treatments. (His doctors suspect that the enlarged gland occurred from damage from the radiation, but they don’t know for certain.)

“I regret having my prostate cancer treated,” he said. “My gut told me that I did not need any treatment but the experts told me that I did. If I was diagnosed today I think my doctors would have been more willing to let me choose monitoring.”

One final point. Over the weekend, Dr. T. Colin Campbell reminded me that although all cancers cannot be reversed, that many of them will either be slowed or arrested by a whole foods, plant-based diet. That diet, coupled with “close surveillance,” may have yielded a much happier ending for Mr. Chorney.

Want to prevent cancer in the first place? Take charge of your own health as early in life as possible. Then teach this method to your children.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Prostate Cancer; Patient regrets radiation treatment…

  1. Walter Chorney says:

    hello from Walter in Nov 2016. I had 6 outpatient surgeries to correct collateral damage from the radiation. The last was in May, 2015 to remove radiation scarring of the bladder neck. I had a cystoscopy last week and no regrowth has occurred. I am probably as close to normal as I can be but it was 6 years of hell. I still wish that I had waited.
    Another point: I do not eat a typical Western fatty diet and do believe that the correct diet can affect one’s body chemistry and cancer.

  2. D Carl Garrison says:

    I had a similar experience. It has been 2 years since I had 44 radiation treatments. I had to have an operation to remove scar tissue created by the radiation before I could urinate properly. I am just now beginning to feel better. I also talked to many of experts – was given the same advice/diagnosis—but do treatment NOW.

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