Charlie is 72. In his early 50’s on the advice of his GP Charlie had his first PSA test, with a reading of about three. On-going testing saw that PSA reading gradually rise, and a referral to a urologist followed. The advice was for a radical prostatectomy.
Charlie rejected that advice, believing that intervention then was unnecessary. He believed that alternative responses should be considered. His GP suggested Pygeum africanam bark tablets, a natural prostate medicine sourced from a tree. Charlie took that for a couple of years but his PSA still rose.
Family connections led him once more to seeing a urologist, and the advice was again to have his prostate removed. Charlie again rejected that advice. Over time Charlie changed GPs and urologists, but with an increasing PSA they were becoming concerned.
In 2003 another referral to a urologist led to a biopsy and an MRI. Charlie had a Gleason score of 6 and nodules of cancer had been detected in the prostate. Once again Charlie was advised to have a radical, and again he remembers that no alternatives were offered. That advice was not accepted.
In 2005 aged 62, Charlie moved to Geelong where his new GP referred him to his fourth urologist. He was told that if he did not have a radical there would be “…only five good years..” ahead of him. Charlie’s family supported his eventual decision, but were frightened of the possible consequences of not opting for a surgical response to deal with the cancer. However Charlie “continued to hold out for more informed and less biased advice.”
He reports that he remained in limbo for the next 4 years although in that time he was influenced by Larry Clapp’s book Prostate Health In 90 Days. It reinforced Charlie’s belief that surgery was not for him. Clapp advocated a ‘terrain analysis’ testing regime as a means of measuring bodily health; it was seemingly unavailable in Victoria. So Charlie rang the author in California for more information. He was advised to visit a clinic in Box Hill which used sound and light therapy to kill the cancer cells. Whilst the cost of this treatment was prohibitive, Charlie also felt disillusioned by Clapp’s later dumping of ‘terrain analysis.’
Early in 2009 with his wife Wilma, Charlie saw another Geelong urologist. This time he was offered radiation preceded by hormone treatment. This advice was resisted. However, whilst leaving the radiologist’s rooms at the Andrew Love Centre, Wilma and Charlie discovered Geelong PSG leaflets in the foyer. Days later, in January 2009 Charlie attended his first meeting of the Geelong PSG. “..What a breath of fresh air…I found I was not alone…” Charlie and Wilma have attended most meetings since. “For me the Geelong PSG is a richly dynamic and supportive forum across treatment modalities and all stages of prostate health.”
It was at one meeting that Charlie heard from a member that a trial using sound and light (sono-photodynamic therapy) was being conducted in Geelong by a local urologist. He was able to join a phase 1 clinical trial in 2011, and another in 2012. The aim of the trials was to show the safety of the methodology; ie of the technique, treatment and equipment. Trial results are still a little way off.
Charlie’s PSA continued to rise, and by mid-2012 the reading was 76. With poor urine flow, Charlie had a TURP and afterwards accepted his urologist’s advice to commence a course of Androcur hormone treatment. His PSA dropped from 76 down to 6, and is now about 18. DRE’s also indicate that Charlie’s prostate has stabilized at a smaller size. Charlie’s urologist encourages a holistic approach which allows the patient to be a partner in the treatment. Commenting on Charlie’s progress, his urologist noted “..altering the course of the disease is a consequence of all the things that Charlie has done.”
“After 20 years of prostate history, I try to follow a balanced lifestyle which includes unstructured exercise, and a diet rich in phytochemicals.” (Phytochemicals – see Foods That Fight Cancer p. 67 – are molecules produced by plants to defend themselves against bacteria, fungi and insects and allow the plant to survive in hostile conditions. These molecules also play a very important part in the behavior of our defence systems in fighting cancer).
“My goals are to largely replace supplements with the equivalent foods, to beat my arthritis by achieving a system roughly pH neutral, and to adopt a regular meditation regime.” Two books which Charlie has found to be of lasting value are Anti-Cancer by David Serven-Schreiber, and Foods That Fight Cancer by Richard Believeau & Denis Gingras. Charlie plays an active role in the Geelong PSG, especially with the organization of the annual Dick Spurr Food Trail.