United Knowledge, Expert Care

Derek U, London, UK

“Following a routine BUPA medical examination in October 2006, in which my PSA blood test showed a slightly above normal reading of 4.2, I was referred by my GP for a consultation with a specialist urologist, who recommended that a prostate biopsy be undertaken so that a definitive diagnosis could be made.

During the biopsy, 12 separate samples were taken, and although 10 of the samples showed only benign prostatic tissue, 2 of the samples revealed the presence of adenocarcinoma, with Gleason Score of 3+3=6, involving 20% of the sample specimen. Since the presence of cancer cells had now definitely been ascertained, my specialist recommended that I also undergo MRI and Bone Scans, to determine if the cancer had spread beyond the prostate. Both of these scans were clear, showing that the carcinoma was prostate gland confined.

It was now recommended that I follow a programme of “active surveillance”, monitoring the progress of the cancer on a regular basis with further PSA blood tests and if the PSA showed a significant change, further biopsies.

But for the “active surveillance” programme to have any reasonable chance of prolonging a normal lifestyle, it was essential to change my existing diet, containing a high proportion of sugar and dairy products, to include a more vigorous selection of healthier options, especially fruit and vegetables. And, in addition, it was recommended that I undertake an active fitness approach, to help reduce weight and promote an overall healthier lifestyle.

The most important element in keeping the cancer at bay was thought to be a complete change in diet. To receive advice and help on this, my specialist introduced me to his colleague, Mrs. Cristina Howard, who, during a 90 minute consultation, highlighted the dietary changes and options that would be available to me.

Mrs. Howard emphasized the importance of reducing the amount of sugar and dairy products in my diet, and provided guidance on a whole range of substitutes that would supplement the initial weight loss programme being achieved by the fitness regime and provided advice on a much healthier intake of natural, as opposed to processed, foods, that would equip my immune system with greater ammunition in its fight against the spread of the cancer.

Prior to our consultation I had been asked to provide Mrs. Howard with a diary of the food consumed at each meal for the preceding 5 days, and this was now discussed in some detail, with Mrs. Howard suggesting healthier options for virtually every meal.

Mrs. Howard had quite an extensive list of recommended foods to replace the processed and pre-packaged foods that I have been previously living on. In addition, Mrs. Howard recommended that I reinforce my healthier food intake with a daily range of supplements in tablet form.

It was suggested that I follow this new ‘dietary regime’ for a period of 2 months, after which I should have a further PSA blood test to determine the effectiveness, or otherwise of the prescribed dietary programme.

By the time my second PSA test was due towards the end of January, my weight had actually fallen from 80 kilos (12’8) at the time of the first positive diagnosis of the cancer (mid November), to a more normal 73 kilos (11’7), giving a BMI reading of 22.8 (previously 24.9).

The follow-up PSA test itself revealed that my PSA count had fallen to 0.82 (previously 4.2) suggesting that the new dietary regime and accompanying weight loss has had a significant effect on my PSA count and that the ‘active surveillance’ treatment option had been the correct course of action to pursue.

Following on from this success, I then had a further consultation with nutrition expert Mrs. Howard, to expand the dietary regime with a series of interesting food recipes with the aim of building upon the more basic recipes suggested at the initial consultation, and since I had now become used to the main thrust of the programme (replacing sugar and dairy products with fruit and vegetables), to expand upon the range of food options that were then available.

This latest programme of interesting recipes will now be followed for a further three months, at which point there will be another PSA test to asses the efficacy of the dietary programme, and most probably, a further biopsy.”

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