Above: NZ media personality, Jason Gunn, seeks office ideas on the next Blue Do in a crazy skit aimed at raising funds for Blue September, the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s annual awareness and fundraising campaign.

Shocking prostate cancer death rate

A media release by Australian based Doctors For Nutrition has drawn stark attention to the shocking number of Australian men dying from prostate cancer.

Already the most common cancer among men, each year some 3500 Australian males lose their lives to it.

But its a figure that can be “significantly reduced” according to the health advocacy group which notes that the incidence of prostate cancer in Australia is one of the highest in the world.

“Nearly one in two men have a risk of getting some form of cancer in their lifetime,” the group says. “More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer.”

But there is a solution, they say.

“There’s strong evidence to suggest diet plays a key role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Doctors For Nutrition recommend a whole food plant-based diet to have the best chance of avoiding prostate cancer.”

They drew attention to recent work by Dr Dean Ornish involving men with early stage prostate cancer who followed a low fat plant-based diet (in addition to other lifestyle changes) demonstrated a significant reduction in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels after one year, and none progressed to requiring conventional treatment in this time.

Dr Ornish has also shown that over 450 prostate cancer promoting genes in these men were switched off, and almost 50 cancer fighting genes were turned on by the lifestyle changes. Their blood was almost eight times more effective at fighting the growth of prostate cancer cells than those who did not make the changes.

“A nutrition prescription that will help in the fight against prostate cancer emphasises unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and legumes. This way of eating avoids meats, dairy products, and eggs and minimises refined and processed foods.

“A low fat whole food plant-based eating pattern can also help to prevent heart disease, the leading killer of men in Australia, say Doctors For Nutrition.

Meanwhile, efforts are also being made to improve methods of early prostate cancer detection.

Australia’s Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCFA) has released a new online tool to help empower men with a better understanding of the PSA test for prostate cancer. The PSA test guide can be used by men before discussing testing with their doctor.

In New Zealand approximately 650 men die each year from prostate cancer but when it comes to early detection Kiwis have gone to the dogs.

A charitable trust called K9 Medical Detection New Zealand (K9MD) is working with Otago University researchers to improve the health of all New Zealanders by using specifically trained dogs working in a controlled clinical environment to assist in the detection of cancer and other diseases.

Dogs have a staggeringly powerful sense of smell.

Study results published in 2006 say they can detect stable concentration thresholds of 1–2 parts per trillion – comparable to detecting a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools.

Researcher Dr Ktrin Kramer says “while it is still unclear what exact markers dogs identify, it has now been established that changes in the cell’s metabolism due to a variety of diseases leads to the release of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are distinct from VOC released by healthy cells.”

Medical detection dogs can be trained to distinguish these VOCs in urine, breath and tissue samples of patients with disease.

NOTE: You can check out New Zealand’s first K9 prostate detector dogs on this News Hub item.

In the video below Dr Michael Greger from NutritionFacts.org reviews the extent to which increasing your plant-based consumption can reduce your risk of contracting cancer.

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