Prostate Cancer: Beyond the PSA Test – Unveiling Alternative Diagnostics & Natural Defenses

The debate about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and its usefulness for deciding on a man’s prostate cancer risk has been ongoing for decades. The PSA test has been considered the gold standard for detecting prostate cancer early and saving lives, but recently, its reliability has been called into question. This is because many men can have prostate cancer, but will not die from it, and conditions like prostatitis and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) can cause elevated PSA levels. Consequently, many men undergo biopsies, which can be dangerous and lead to inflammation, increasing the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. Invasive treatments for slow-growing, non-harmful cancers can lead to pain, sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and a reduced quality of life.

Complementing the PSA

As an integrative physician specializing in cancer, it is crucial to consider the big picture. Assessing each individual’s overall health by using a variety of diagnostic tests and methods is essential. If a patient has an elevated PSA, it could be cancer, or it could be a variety of other issues, such as infections, medications, sexual activity, or even long bike rides. Other measures to consider include hormone tests (such as estrogen, prolactin, progesterone, DHEAS, and DHT); testing levels of CEA and IGF-1 to help identify aggressiveness; and the PCA3 genetic test, which helps determine a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.


Galectin-3 is a protein marker associated with prostate and other cancers, as well as heart disease. Though useful in small quantities, it can cause trouble when levels become elevated. This causes cancers to grow and spread, forming tumors and stimulating new blood vessel growth. Galectin-3 also drives chronic inflammation and the progression of inflammation to fibrosis (uncontrolled scar tissue buildup). In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first galectin-3 blood test for screening cardiovascular disease, which has since been used by doctors to assess cancer risk and progression.

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP)

One of the best ways to control galectin-3 levels is through the use of modified citrus pectin (MCP). Regular citrus pectin is found in citrus peels, but the molecules are too large to be absorbed into circulation; by modifying these molecules, their size is decreased, allowing them to be absorbed into the body and exert unique benefits. MCP binds to excess galectin-3 molecules, blocking their effects, which can result in cancers losing an important foothold that helps them grow and spread. MCP also binds to heavy metals and safely chelates them from the body without affecting essential minerals. Ongoing research examines MCP’s ability to halt galectin-3 in cancer and other diseases. Clinicians are enrolling prostate cancer patients in a Phase III clinical trial to test whether MCP can reduce PSA levels in those facing biochemical relapse.

Other Helpful Botanicals

There are several botanical supplements and minerals proven valuable in treating prostate cancer and other prostate conditions such as prostatitis and BPH. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, is known for its anti-tumor activity. Other anti-tumor supplements include lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, artemisinin, and selenium. Diinodolymethane (DIM), metabolized from cruciferous vegetables, also has a powerful impact on cancer and hormone modulation.

Various other botanicals have a positive impact on the prostate, including saw palmetto berry, quercetin, pumpkin seed, pygeum bark, and a variety of medicinal mushrooms. These ingredients boost immunity, fight inflammation, deter oxidation, fight cancer, balance hormones, and detoxify the body. A botanical prostate formula containing these herbs has been shown in preclinical studies to support prostate health, particularly when combined with MCP.

The possible development of prostate cancer is a frightening prospect for many men. However, it is crucial to get a complete and comprehensive assessment for any prostate health issues from a qualified expert. Numerous tests are available to complement the PSA test to help detect prostate cancer and determine its aggressiveness. In addition, a whole-food, unprocessed diet, a healthy lifestyle, and targeted supplements and nutrients can help maintain a healthy prostate and boost overall health.