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Western and Ayurvedic Approaches to the Treatment of Early Stage Prostate Cancer By: Suzanne Mansell

Introduction:

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man's prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. [1] Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. The 2012 prostate cancer statistics from the American Cancer Society are as follows: [17]
  • About 241, 740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed.
  • About 28, 170 men will die of prostate cancer.
  • About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
  • About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. More than 2.5 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. [17] According to the most recent data*, when including all men with prostate cancer:
  • The relative 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%.
  • The relative 10-year survival rate is 98%.
  • The 15-year relative survival rate is 91%.
Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some forms of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. [1]
 
* Five-year relative survival rates assume that some people will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for people without the cancer. [17]
 
Prostate cancer has been classified into four stages: [1, 17]
 
Stage I: This stage signifies cancer in its earliest stages that is confined to a small area of the prostate. When viewed under a microscope, the cancer cells are not considered aggressive.
Stage II: Cancer at this stage may still be considered small, but may be considered aggressive when cancer cells are viewed under the microscope. Alternatively, cancer that is stage II may be larger and may have grown to involve both sides of the prostate gland.
Stage III: The cancer has spread beyond the prostate to the seminal vesicles or other nearby tissues.
Stage IV: The cancer has grown to invade nearby organs or spread to lymph nodes, bones, lungs, or other organs.
 
This paper will focus on the interpretation and treatment of early stage prostate cancer from both the Western medical and Ayurvedic perspectives.

Western Interpretation and Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Causes. Western physicians are not certain what causes prostate cancer. Physicians know that prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate become abnormal. Mutations in the abnormal cells' DNA cause the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that  can grow to invade nearby tissue. Some abnormal cells can break off and spread to other parts of the body. [1, 17]
 
Risk Factors. Factors that can increase the risk of prostate cancer include: age (over 65), ethnicity (black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races), family history of prostate cancer, nationality (prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands and less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America), and obesity. [1, 17]
 
Symptoms. While prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause signs and symptoms, such as trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in the urine, blood in the semen, swelling in the legs, discomfort in the pelvic area, or bone pain, prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. [1, 17]
 
Screening for Prostate Cancer. Whether to test healthy men with no prostate symptoms for prostate cancer is controversial. Medical organizations do not agree on the issue of screening and whether it has benefits. Prostate screening tests might include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by both cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign) prostate tissue. PSA helps liquefy the semen. A small amount of PSA normally enters the bloodstream. Cancer cells usually make more PSA than do benign cells, causing PSA levels in the blood to rise. But PSA levels can also be elevated in men with enlarged or inflamed prostate glands. [1, 17]
 
Diagnosing prostate cancer. If an abnormality is detected on a DRE or PSA test, the physician may recommend tests to determine the presence of prostate cancer, such as ultrasound or prostate biopsy. [1, 17]
 
Determining whether prostate cancer is aggressive. When a biopsy confirms the presence of cancer, the next step, called grading, is to determine how aggressive the cancer is. The tissue samples are studied, and the cancer cells are compared with healthy prostate cells. The more the cancer cells differ from the healthy cells, the more aggressive the cancer and the more likely it is to spread quickly. More-aggressive cancer cells have a higher grade. The most common scale used to evaluate the grade of prostate cancer cells is called a Gleason score. Scoring combines two numbers and can range from 2 (nonaggressive cancer) to 10 (very aggressive cancer). [1,17]
 
 
Determining how far the cancer has spread. The following imaging tests may be  recommended to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate: bone scan, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). [1,17]

Western Treatment and Prevention of Early Stage Prostate Cancer

Treatment:

The prostate cancer treatment options below depend on several factors, such as how fast the cancer is growing, how much it has spread, overall patient’s health, as well as the benefits and the potential side effects of the treatment.
 
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. Side effects of radiation therapy can include painful urination, frequent urination and urgent urination, as well as rectal symptoms, such as loose stools or pain when passing stools. Erectile dysfunction can also occur. There is a small risk of radiation causing another form of cancer, such as bladder cancer or rectal cancer, in the future. Radiation therapy is generally an option for early and late stage cancers. [1, 17]
  • Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy is treatment to stop the body from producing the male hormone testosterone. Prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the supply of hormones may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly. Hormone therapy is generally used in men with advanced prostate cancer to shrink the cancer and slow the growth of tumors. In men with early-stage prostate cancer, hormone therapy may be used to shrink tumors before radiation therapy. Side effects of hormone therapy may include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, loss of bone mass, reduced sex drive and weight gain. Hormone therapy also increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. [1, 17]
  • Surgery to remove the prostate. Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy), some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes. [1, 17]
  • Freezing prostate tissue. Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells. Cryosurgery may be an option for men who have not been helped by
 radiation therapy. [1,17]
  • Heating prostate tissue using ultrasound. High-intensity focused ultrasound treatment uses powerful sound waves to heat prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die. [1,17]
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. [1,17]
  • Active Surveillance. In active surveillance, regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams and possibly biopsies may be performed to monitor progression of the cancer in lieu of additional treatment. [1, 17] Note: active surveillance is sometimes called “watchful waiting;” however, some physicians make the distinction that “watchful waiting” is a less intensive form of follow-up that may result in fewer tests and rely more on changes in a man’s symptoms. [17, 2]
 
For men diagnosed with a very early stage of prostate cancer, Western physicians have conceded that active surveillance is a viable option. It is considered when the cancer is not causing symptoms, is expected to grow very slowly, and is confined to a small area of the prostate. It may also be considered for a man who has another serious health condition or an advanced age that makes cancer treatment more difficult. However, active surveillance is considered to carry the risk that the cancer may grow and spread between checkups. As a result, men with early stage prostate cancer who wish to start treatment are also offered the options of radiation therapy and surgery. [1, 2, 17]
 

Prevention:

To prevent prostate cancer, Western medical physicians generally recommend maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and choosing a healthy diet. [1, 17]
  • Some studies have found that men who are overweight may have a slightly lower risk of prostate cancer overall, but a higher risk of prostate cancers that are likely to be fatal. [1, 17]
  • Studies have found that men who get regular physical activity have a slightly lower risk of prostate cancer. Vigorous activity may have a greater effect, especially on the risk of advanced prostate cancer. [1, 17]
  • Several studies have suggested that diets high in certain vegetables (including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, soy, beans, and other legumes), grains, or fish may be linked  with a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially more advanced cancers. [19, 20, 21]
  • Studies have shown that men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer. However, some studies indicate this may be a result of meat heated at high temperatures. [1,17, 22]
  • Studies of men who drink green tea or take green tea extract as a supplement have found a reduced risk of prostate cancer. [1]

Active Holistic Surveillance: An integrative approach to treatment and prevention:

Active “holistic” surveillance is a term coined by Dr. Aaron Katz, Director of the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center. Active holistic surveillance involves: [2]
  • Changes in diet, including the reduction or elimination of red meat and dairy.
  • Dietary supplements, including herbal anti-inflammatories, omega-three fatty acid supplements, and vitamin D.
  • A reasonable exercise program (aerobic exercise at least three times per week).
  • Some method of stress reduction (such as yoga or meditation).
  • PSA testing every three to four months and a repeat DRE every six months.
  • A repeat biopsy at 12 to 24 months, even in cases where the PSA is stable, to ensure the cancer volume has not increased and that the Gleason score does not need to be updated.
Dr. Katz advises the use of active holistic surveillance if a patient’s: [2]
 
  • PSA is below 10 and a Gleason score under 7; and
  • Disease is at stage I or II; and
  • MRI shows no cancer growth outside the prostate gland; and
  • Cancer is not palpable in DRE; and
  • Biopsy shows fewer than four of at least 12 cores to be positive for cancer; and
  • Less than half of any core taken is cancerous.
Substantiating Dr. Katz’s advice, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that among men with localized prostate cancer detected during the early era of PSA testing, surgery did not significantly reduce all-cause or prostate-cancer mortality, as compared with surveillance, through at least 12 years of follow-up. [18]

Ayurvedic Interpretation of Prostate Cancer

Cancer According to Ayurveda

In classical Ayurvedic literature, a detailed description is provided for various types of tumors. Terms such as gulma, granthi, utseda and arbuda are used for specific tumor conditions. Arbuda, in particular, is a malignant tumor or cancerous growth.
 
According to Ayurveda, the cancer disease process happens at the subtle cellular level. At the cellular level, each cell is a center of awareness, a conscious microscopic life. There is a flow of communication from one cell to another, and every cell has cellular integrity and governs its own metabolic activity. [3]
 
However, poor communication can occur at the cellular level if cell membranes are clogged with ama, or toxins. Since each cell has its own self-esteem and self- importance (ahamkara), if a cell becomes isolated from others it becomes lonely. A lonely cell starts to act independently, producing its own enzymes and its own agni. The cell continues to grow independently and, as a result, it becomes malignant. These arbuda cells have a distorted self and hyperactive
 
metabolism, demanding more metabolic output and attacking their neighboring cells. As a result, they end up converting neighboring cells into cancerous cells. [3]
 
Classical Signs and Symptoms (Rupa)
 
According to classical Ayurveda, pain (ruja), weakness (daurbalya), malnutrition (alpa poshanam), extreme fatigue (balakshaya), as well as bone fractures (asthi bhagnata) and even paralysis (pakshavadha) are signs and symptoms of cancer. [3]
 
Classical Causes (Nidana)
 
According to the ancient text, Madhava Nidanam, there are specific etiological factors that can lead to cancer. [3, 4]
  • Overexposure to solar radiation (atapa)
  • Substances that have irritating properties, like drugs or alcohol (vidahani annapanani)
  • Penetrating cytotoxic drugs (tikshnani aushadhani)
  • Toxic metabolic waste at the cellular level (cellular ama)
  • Incompatible food (viruddha ahara)
  • Wrong lifestyle (viruddha vihara)
  • Genetic predisposition (bija dosha)
  • Parasites or microorganisms in the blood (sukshma krimi)
  • Occupational hazards and exposure to toxic substances (vyavasaya)
  • Psychological and emotional factors, such as unresolved grief or stress (mano vedana)
  • Age, in that people over 65 are more prone to cancer of the prostate or colon (vardhakya)
  • Pollution  (paryavartanam)

Pathogenesis  (Samprapti)

From an Ayurvedic perspective, tumor formation is a condition of vata- kapha origin. Vata is responsible for the faulty division of cells and kapha for their growth. Therefore, vata pushes kapha out of balance resulting in tumor formation. While benign tumors take on a predominantly
 
kapha appearance, in malignancies, pitta is also vitiated and the condition becomes tridoshic in nature. In these conditions, the agni of the affected tissue is increased making it very aggressive to its surroundings as it slowly digests the tissues of the body. Over time vata imbalance predominates and the condition leads to severe wasting of the tissues of the body. As cancer begins, ojas in the affected tissue is low, and, as the condition progresses, systemic ojas becomes lower and lower. [5]
 
Muscular tissue is the most common dhatu affected by cancer, although any dhatu can be affected. While benign tumors of muscular origin are most often described as kapha entering into the mamsa dhatu of the mamsavaha srota (even though it may be vata that has pushed kapha), malignant tumors of muscular origin are most often described as pitta vitiation in the mamsa dhatu of the mamsavaha srota (even though vata and kapha are also vitiated). [5]
 
Prostate Cancer According to Ayurveda
 
From an Ayurvedic perspective, prostate cancer is a tumor of the prostate gland involving vitiation of all three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). Because the prostate gland forms part of the male reproductive system (shukra dhatu), prostate cancer reflects the physical, emotional, and spiritual relationship that the affected man has had with his reproductive capacity. Because the shukra dhatu is the seventh and last dhatu, any disorder at this level also reflects the overall relationship with the entire body. [6]
 
Causes of Prostate Cancer—The Physical Level
 
Prostate cancer arises from a combination of doshic disturbances in the shukra dhatu and accumulation of ama in the vicinity of the prostate gland. Once one dosha is provoked in the shukra dhatu, and this provocation goes unchecked, the other two doshas will gradually accumulate, leading to tridoshic provocation. [6]
 
Vata Provoking Factors. There are many factors that lead to vata provocation in the shukra
 dhatu. These include: [6, 7]
  • Overuse of the sexual organs
  • Hasty or surreptitious sexual activity without time to relax afterwards
  • Holding back the natural urge to ejaculate once at the point of ejaculation
  • Excess bicycle riding, or other forms of "bumpy" activity involving sitting astride a saddle
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields, microwave or radiation
  • Vata-provoking habits to the entire system (i.e., lack of regular routines, drinking coffee, over-consumption of raw or dry foods, lack of adequate fluid-intake)
  • Stress (particularly because vata dosha governs the nervous system).
Vata dosha also increases with age. Because vata dosha is irregular, dry, and moving by nature, it can cause digestion to become more irregular. This contributes to more ama being produced and spreading to the tissues. Additionally, the prostate is located in the area of the body that is governed by apana vayu, which includes the colon, lower abdomen, elimination, and reproductive areas. Therefore, anything that aggravates apana vayu creates pressure on the prostate. So if the flow of energy and nutrients to the prostate area gets blocked by ama, and the flow of impurities out of the area gets obstructed, the prostate gets weaker and more and more imbalanced.          [7]
 
Pitta Provoking Factors. Pitta may be provoked in the shukra dhatu due to exposure to infection. Consumption of alcohol, spicy food, salt, or sour fruits, may also provoke pitta in shukra. If anger or frustration is associated with the reproductive act, pitta may quickly become provoked in the reproductive system. [7]
 
Kapha Provoking Factors. Stagnation of creative energies, excess sleep, lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, and a high fat diet, may cause kapha to accumulate in the shukra dhatu, leading to benign prostatic hypertrophy or, if the other doshas become involved, to prostate cancer. [7]
 
Effects of Ama and Other Toxins. Because of its anatomical position, the prostate gland is vulnerable to the accumulation of ama in both the urinary bladder and the colon. Benign prostatic hypertrophy may cause partial or complete urinary retention, leading to ama and infection in the urinary bladder. As a result, this causes ama to accumulate in the prostate gland, where a malignancy may eventually develop. Toxins accumulated in the colon and rectum readily transfer to the prostate gland, where these toxins may give rise to cancer. Thus, any factors that create toxins in the colon are directly implicated in the causation of prostate cancer. Environmental toxins ingested in food and accumulated in the colon may expose the prostate gland to carcinogenic chemicals such as pesticides and solvents. The shukra dhatu is also particularly vulnerable to the effects of radiation exposure. [7]
 
Causes of Prostate Cancer—The Subtle Level
 
In addition to a toxic environment, devitalized foods, and sedentary lifestyle, cancer, in general, can be caused by lack of spiritual purpose or effort in life. Suppressed emotion or emotional stagnation can lead to accumulation of toxic material and excess doshas. [8]
 
Additionally, imbalances or blockages of energy associated with either the first or second chakra can lead to disorders of the prostate gland, and, eventually to prostate cancer. The prostate gland is associated with muladhara chakra (the first chakra), as it governs procreation among other functions. There is also a connection between the prostate gland and svadhisthana chakra, the second chakra. All non-procreative aspects of sexual intercourse are related to svadhisthana chakra, as well as creative energy. Therefore, addressing the overall relationship with sexuality, procreation, and the entire spectrum of generative and creative energy becomes important. [7]

Ayurvedic Treatment (Chikitsa) and Prevention of Prostate Cancer

The Ayurvedic healing process for prostate cancer approaches the patient on several levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
 
Healing Process—The Physical Level
 
Herbs. Generally, herbs utilized in the treatment of cancer can be taken internally or applied over the tumor as a paste, acting directly on the cancer and supporting a deeper healing when used in accordance with the patient's vikruti. [11] Specific references to the treatment of tumors (arbuda) in the classical texts indicate the application of herbal poultices and fomention for vata arbuda, herbal poultices, fomentation and herbal purgatives for pitta arbuda, and the application of hot plaster after herbal emetics or purgatives for kapha arbuda. [12, 13]
 
In the treatment of prostate cancer, herbs may be utilized to support the health of the urogenital system, reduce tumor growth and perhaps limit metastasis.
Specific herbs for the urogenital system.
  • Gokshura is noted to be one of the most important herbs for the urogenital system. Gokshura is tridoshic, diuretic, rejuvenative, nervine, and soothing to the urinary tract. [6, 8, 9]
  • Punarnava is another important herb that rejuvenates the urinary tract. It is also useful in the treatment of cancer because it reduces swellings, and its alkaloid has a specific anti- cancer effect. However, it should not be used in cases of dehydration or emaciation. [6, 9]
  • Additional herbs that support healthy urination include: white sandalwood, guduchi, shilajit, and pumpkin seeds. [6, 9]
  • Herbs that support the shukra dhatu and maintain testosterone production include: gokshura, bala, shilajit, zinc bhasma, and saw palmetto. [7, 9, 10]
  • Herbs that specifically support prostate health include:
    • o Guduchi, turmeric, and zinc B=bhasma. They enhance immunity in the prostate area. [7]
    • o The combination of guggul and zinc bhasma. They are a traditional ayurvedic remedy for balancing the size and health of the prostate. Turmeric and guggul are both effective anti-inflammatory herbs, as well. [7]
    • o Ashwaganda. It provides long-term support and nourishment to the prostate gland. [9]
    • o Bala, kapikacchu, and marshmellow. They are effective for enlarged prostate problems. [8]
    • o Kachnar and guggul. They help maintain prostate health and function as both have a specific effect in clearing ama from the blood, muscle, and fat tissue, and help maintain the normal size of the prostate gland by supporting balanced cell production. [7]
    • o Rabdosia. It is one of the active anti-cancer herbs in the formula PC SPES, which has undergone successful clinical trials for prostate cancer. [10]
Herbs having tendencies for breaking down tumors. The two most important herbs used in treating prostate cancer are kutki and shilajit. They are both contained in the formula, Chandraprabha.
  • Kutki is a purgative and breaks down fecal matter, thus helping to remove ama from the colon. It tends to break down tumors due to its scraping effect. [6, 9]
  • Shilajit’s main action is on the urogenital system, and it has a specific effect in reducing both benign and malignant swelling of the prostate. [6, 8, 16]
Additional anti-cancer herbs. Many of the herbs that are credited with the potential to heal cancer are strongly purifying, ridding the body of toxins, excess dosha and ama. Examples of strongly reducing herbs with a reputation to destroy tumors include red clover, burdock root, dandelion root, guggul, turmeric and chaparral. [5, 10] Green tea, cat's claw, manjishta, madagascan periwinkle, shatavari, and brahmi (bacopa monniera) have also been well-studied and identified as anti-cancer herbs. [5]
 
Tonification or Purification Therapy. If prostate cancer patients begin Ayurvedic treatment early when they are strong, the practitioner would take the patient through a period of purification followed by a period of tonification or rejuvenation leaving the patient's body purified (reducing ama and excess dosha) and their immune system strong. Patients who are weak would undergo strengthening or tonification therapy to invigorate the immune system. [11]
 
Managing the Digestive System. According to Ayurveda, a healthy digestive system supports the healing of all tissues of the body. The digestive system is managed though the removal of ama, proper diet and herbs as well as vamana, virechana and basti applied appropriately with due regard for prakruti and vikruti. [5]
 
Diet. Since prostate cancer is a tridoshic provocation, according to Ayurveda, the diet should be a balanced one, avoiding extremes that could further provoke one of the doshas. A diet of warm, cooked, easily digestible, light yet nourishing foods are best. Organic vegetables cooked in mild spices, whole grains, light proteins such as mung dhal soups, and sweet, juicy fruits will nourish the body and pacify all three doshas. [6, 7]
 
Eliminating Ama. To prevent further accumulation of ama in the colon, an Ayurvedic regimen for the maintenance of agni, the digestive fire, would be followed. This involves practices, such as, leaving at least three hours between meals or snacks, not sleeping within two hours of eating, not combining incompatible foods, and avoiding old, cold, and stale foods and drinks. Also, triphala is considered an effective herbal formula to maintain a clean, healthy colon and prevent further exposure of the prostate gland to colonic ama. [6]
 
Healing Process—The Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Levels
  • Dr. Marc Halpern of the California College of Ayurveda advises mental purification and rejuvenation as part of the healing process. He concludes that, “purifying the mind through periods of silence and a lack of sensory stimulation helps support healing.” Meditation and shirodhara can help produce inner silence, while nasya supports mental purification. [11]
  • Dr. Halpern also purports that mental rejuvenation must follow mental purification. Mental rejuvenation can be accomplished through the use of oil therapies, such as shirodara or abhyanga. Daily self-abhyanga is considered an important act of self-love, as it rebuilds ojas in the mind. [11]
  • The patient’s relationship with sexuality and procreation can be addressed, as an immature or unintegrated approach to sexuality is viewed as harmful as it sets up a negative energy pattern related to the reproductive system and causes unhealthy behaviors that directly damage the prostate gland. [6]
  • The patient’s relationship with creative expression can be addressed, as a life devoid of meaningful creative expression is considered a physically, mentally, and spiritually destructive situation. According to Alakananda Devi, whenever the energy of creation is absent, the energy of destruction (tamas) will take over. This destructive energy will readily find expression within the shukra dhatu, the tissue associated with procreation, generation, and creation. [6]
  • In the Vedic system, cancer is viewed as a psychic disorder, a disruption in the aura allowing the entrance of a negative astral force. Emotional cleansing, mantra, pranayama, and meditation are viewed as important methods to counter this disruption. Gem therapy is considered helpful to balance the aura and protect the life. For example, blue sapphire set in gold is considered the best gem for antitumor properties. Dr. David Frawley states, “Chanting OM is excellent for opening up the aura and clearing the psychic air. The mantra RAM is best to give protection and bring down the Divine healing force. HUM is effective for casting out negative life-energies.” [8]
  • Yoga asanas reduce tension and inner restrictions that may be blocking the healing process. [11]
  • Visualization is the process of engaging the imagination in the process of healing. By visualizing a positive outcome, the chances of survival and healing are noted to increase. [11]
  • Sattvic practices, such as spending time in nature, are considered important for keeping
 the mind clear and supporting the healing process. Sattvic practices assist in the healing of karma. [11]
 
Additional Ayurvedic Therapies and Prevention Guidelines
 
Additional Daily Therapies
  • Daily castor oil massage of the prostate using cold-pressed castor oil can be helpful. [6]
  • Daily perineal exercises (the practice of ashvini mudra) can enhance circulation and lymphatic drainage of the prostate. [6]
  • The use of anuvasana and niruha basti can bring herbs close to the location of the prostate gland. A decoction involving dashmoola would be appropriate. These therapies are ideal for pacifying vata dosha; but can be designed so that kapha is not vitiated. [6, 9]
  • Yoga asanas that apply perineal pressure can be useful. Examples include: kukutasana, gomukhdsana, padpedandsaan, and salabhasana (locust pose), as well as the inverted poses, sirsasana and sarvangasana. [6]
 
Additional Ayurvedic Prostate Cancer Prevention Guidelines
In order to prevent the onset of prostate cancer, patients are advised to:
  • Pacify vata (by creating regular routines around eating and sleeping, slowing down, resting) and apana vayu (through daily abhyanga massages and ensuring regular bowl movements). The classical text, Caraka Samhita, reiterates the importance of pacifying vata in regards to cancerous tumors: “In case of gulma, pacification of vayu should be done properly with all means because after vayu is won over, even the small remedy alleviates the other aggravated dosha.” [14]
  • Take short breaks frequently and try to stretch or take a short walk. This will restore the normal flow of energy, blood, and nutrient fluid to the prostate area. [7]
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption, as both create abnormal urine production and irritate the bladder. Take the necessary time to empty the bladder completely. Drink water throughout the day to prevent the urine from becoming too concentrated. [7]
  • Not suppress the urge to urinate as it can lead to further urogenital complications. [15]

Conclusion

As Dr. Marc Halpern states, “The Western approach to managing cancer brings both opportunities for cure as well as great challenges.” [23] Because the word “cancer” has frightening implications for many patients, over-treatment of early stage cancerous conditions, such as prostate cancer, has become a commonplace occurrence in order to fight the “war” on cancer. In other words, the treatment often becomes more invasive than the disease condition itself. However, the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda, immersed in the wisdom of Nature, provides clues to the healing process that, although may not be substantiated by research—yet, may one day bring an end to suffering.

References

[2] Katz, Aaron Dr., The Definitive Guide to Prostate Cancer (Rodale: New York), 2011. Pages 89-92.
[3] Lad, Vasant, BAM&S, MASc. “The Concept of Cancer in Ayurveda,” Ayurveda Today, Vol. 18, number 2. Fall 2005. Pages 50, 51, 53.
[4] Madhava Nidanam: K.R.L. Gupta, Second edition, Sri Satguru Publications, Copyright 1997, Delhi, India.
[5] Halpern, Marc, Dr. “Managing Cancer, Part II.” Published on CA College of Ayurveda (http://www.ayurvedacollege.com), July 29, 2009.
[6] Devi, Alakananda: Prostate Cancer http://www.alandiashram.org/school/school_html/reviews/prostate_cancer.html [7] Maharishi Ayurveda Newsletter: A Powerful Approach to Prostate Health
[8] Frawley, David, Dr. Ayurvedic Healing: A Comprehensive Guide, Second edition (Lotus Press: Twin Lakes), 2000. Pages 261, 284.
[9] Halpern, Marc, Dr. Clinical Ayurvedic Medicine Student’s Textbook, Part One Sixth Edition 2001- 2008, California College of Ayurveda. Chapter Three.
[10] Tierra, Michael Dr. Treating Cancer with Herbs: An Integrative Approach (Lotus Press: Twin Lakes), 2003. Pages 121, 208-209, 223.
[11] Halpern, Marc, Dr. “Managing Cancer, Part III.” Published on CA College of Ayurveda (http://www.ayurvedacollege.com), August 11, 2009.
[12] Sushruta Samhita (Vol.2): Kaviraj Kunjalal Bhishagratna, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varansi, 2002. Chapter XVIII, lines 28-35.
[13] Cakradatta: Translated and edited by PV Sharma, Chaukhhambha Publishers, Varanasi, India, 2002. Chapter XLI; lines 49-52.
[14] Caraka Samhita, Translated and edited by P.V. Sharma, Chaukhambra Orientalia, Varansi, 2003. Vol. 1, Chapter V, line 17.
[15] Caraka Samhita, Translated and edited by P.V. Sharma, Chaukhambra Orientalia, Varansi, 2003. Vol. 2, Chapter IX, lines 32-48.
[16] Frawley, David, Dr. and Dr. Vasant Lad. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, Second edition (Lotus Press: Twin Lakes), 2001. Pages 250-251.
[18] Wilt, T.J., Brawer, M.K., Jones, K.M., et al. “Radical prostatectomy versus observation for localized prostate cancer.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2012 July 19; 367(6):203-213.
[19] Chavarro, J.E., Stampfer, M.J., Sasso, M.N., et al. “A 22-yr prospective study of fish intake in relation to prostate cancer incidence and mortality.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008 Nov; 88(5); 1297-303.
[20] Hebert, J.R., Hurley, T.G., Olendzki, B.C., et al. “Nutritional and socioeconomic factors in relation to prostate cancer mortality: a cross-national study.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1998 Nov 4;90(21):1637-47.
[21] Higdon, J.V., Delage, B., Williams, D.E., et al. “Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis.” Pharmacol Res. 2007 Mar; 55(3):224-36. Epub Jan 25, 2007.
[22] Joshi, A.D., Corral, R., Catsburg, C., et al. “Red meat and poultry, cooking practices, genetic susceptibility and risk of prostate cancer: results from a multiethnic case-control study.” Carcinogenesis. 2012 Nov;33(11):2108-18. Epub 2012 Jul 20.
[23] Halpern, Marc, Dr. “Managing Cancer, Part I.” Published on CA College of Ayurveda (http://www.ayurvedacollege.com), July 29, 2009
 
 
 
 
 

About the Student Research Papers

The papers published on our website have been written by students of the California College of Ayurveda as a part of their required work toward graduation. After reviewing each paper, Dr. Halpern selects those papers that he feels are appropriate to publish. The information in each paper should not be construed as the final word on any subject nor should it be assumed that errors do not exist.