Conventional medicine generally offers four treatment options for prostate cancer patients: removal of the prostate gland; "seeding" the cancer with radioactive material; externally radiation; or cryptotherapy, which freezes the tumor.
Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 20 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients after treatment options had been explained by a urologist. They discovered that 19 of the 20 patients chose a course of treatment based partly on the experiences of a friend or relative who'd had the disease.
The study's lead author, Dr. Thomas D. Denberg, stressed that prostate cancer patients should avoid comparing their own cancer experience the experiences of others. "Because Uncle Fred did well with a certain procedure doesn't mean that you will," Denberg said.
Though all the patients in the study said they understood that the cancer progressed slowly, 12 patients wanted treatment as soon as possible, eight of which believed that surgery was the best option. Patients also made treatment decisions based on the misconceptions that a cure was guaranteed if the tumor was confined to the prostate, and that the chance of being cured was still high even if the tumor spread beyond the prostate.
Researchers also found that the men who had decided on surgery rejected the other options, and the men who opted for radiation therapy preferred seeding over external radiation, citing efficacy and possible negative side effects. The study's authors say that men should not rush into a treatment decision, and should educate themselves on the disease to avoid common misperceptions.
Proponents of alternative cancer treatments say that men should also look into safe, natural treatments for prostate cancer, including vitamin D from sunlight, green tea and the minerals selenium and zinc. Pomegranate juice has recently been discovered to markedly slow the growth of prostate cancer tumors.