Battling Prostate Cancer…What helps, what doesn’t

Promoting Wellness for Prostate Cancer Patients 

Dr. Mark A. Moyad, MD, MPH (available on

Many people these days are interested in holistic therapy, and just about everyone would prefer to take something “natural” rather than taking pills. When it comes to prostate cancer and prostate health, patients will ask, “What can I do doc, that’s natural for it. Will saw palmetto or selenium be good for me?” All too often, the “cures” and supplements that patients are asking about have no scientific basis whatsoever. But they are being sold in vitamin shops or on the Internet.

The author of Promoting Wellness for Prostate Cancer Patients, Dr. Mark A. Moyad, is an internationally recognized authority on nutrition and supplement use for prostate cancer. As the Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, he maintains an open mind regarding the beneficial possibilities. But as a physician and scientist, he is devoted to the facts rather than rumor, hope, or hype.

Heart Healthy = Prostate Healthy

Dr. Moyad’s overriding message is that the most significant role for diet, nutritional supplements and herbs lies in the promotion of heart health. “Heart healthy equals prostate healthy,” he writes, noting that, even among men diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer, the number one cause of death is cardiovascular disease. “In addition,” writes Moyad, “there is now plenty of clinical research to suggest that being heart healthy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer may actually increase the chances of beating prostate cancer itself.”

The book takes a close, yet easy to grasp, look at a wide range of supplements related to the prostate. Regarding saw palmetto, one of the most popular herbal products for relief of BPH symptoms, Moyad is skeptical. The herb may artificially reduce PSA blood levels (obscuring a cancer warning) and there is no evidence it does anything to prevent or treat prostate cancer. “The biggest problem,” says Moyad, “is that the prescription medications for BPH work so well today… that it is difficult to ever consider recommending an herbal product over a drug …”

Considering the evidence on selenium, Moyad believes “there is no reason right now to take an individual selenium supplement.” The largest clinical trial of the supplement has shown that, at the most common dosage, it does not prevent prostate cancer and may, in fact, increase the risk of type II diabetes. Most men will get all they need through a healthy diet or a multi-vitamin.

Dr. Moyad does find a number of supplements— such as ginger, ginseng and fish oil— to be helpful in the course of various treatments for prostate cancer and suggests sensible usages for them, for mitigating side-effects and increasing wellness. Aside from its focus on nutrition, the book provides a concise and useful overview of prostate cancer, from diagnosis through treatment.

Dr. Moyad’s message is an important one. The information he provides will help people focus on things that are for real and help them save the money and effort they might invest in things that are useless.