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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Osteoporosis or Bon Cancer
Date: 14 May 1998 07:56:03 GMT

In <> (REP)

>>    What are his PSA's like?  If they're off the map, he likely has
>> tumor everywhere.
>I thought the PSA didn't always mean anything. My father's PSAs were
>normal, yet his bladder cancer had metastisized {sp?} to his lumbar spine.
>Or is that just true for non-prostrate cancers?

   Just for non-prostate.  Other cancers don't make PSA, which is a
prostate protein.  PSA generally reflects the amount of prostate tissue
in the body.  It can be malignant or not.  As it gets into the higher
numbers, however, the liklihood is that it's tumor (for obvious
reasons-- a normal prostate can only be so big).  In a person who is
supposed to have little or no prostate left, after having been treated
for cancer, high PSAs are a very bad sign.  In the guy being discussed,
they would be a very valuable clue to whether or not there were a lot
of metastases after treatment.  If there are metastates, they
presumably are in bone, which is where prostate cancer "likes" to go.
Pelvis and lower spine first.

                                 Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Take Vit E and Vit C together?  Opinions please ...
Date: 12 Feb 1999 09:09:11 GMT

In <> (Tom)

>I'm sure this has been asked many times before, but am looking for a
>consensus, since I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and both
>of these vitamins are said to be important.  Would appreciate any
>other nutritional suggestions and possible negative interactions with
>beneficial agents taken together (at the same time).
>Many thanks,

   Arachadonate, found mostly in meat, has been found to be a growth
factor for prostate cancer.  There was a news report of a recent study
someplace where it was found that a totally animal product free diet
reduced PSA values significantly in prostate cancer sufferers.  Alas,
I've yet to see the actual reference yet.  But you might try a vegan
diet's effects on your PSA (assuming you still have a measurable one).
It can't hurt, and won't take long.  And it will cost you little.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: U. S. Trails the world in herbal medicines
Date: 15 Apr 1999 09:51:27 GMT

In <> Michael Sierchio <>

>"Steven B. Harris" wrote:
>>     I'll be glad to.  PSA is a marker, and in many cases a poor one.
>> What do you think it proves?
>So PSA is a screening test and not diagnostic?

   Not a good screening test.  Much debate about that.   Cetainly not
diagnostic, since it simply follows volume of prostate tissue.  If you
have a really, really high PSA, your chance of having cancer with
metastatis goes up, but by then the information is of no curative use
anyway.  Screens are supposed to save people.  For lower values of PSA,
the darned test may do just what every other "harmless" test does-- it
may route you straight into the clutches of modern medicine, and some
treatment which really WILL harm you.  And which is hard to prove
helps, when administered for cancers "found" only in this fashion, with
blind biopsy on a prostate which feels normal.

   Again and again in medicine we find an essential fact:  the best
treatment depends not only on the "diagnosis" but also the
presentation.  How did you arrive at the "diagnosis"?  If it was by
some completely different means, then it may well be true that you're
actually treating a different sort of thing, with natually a different
prognosis.  So you can't assume anything.  In the case of prostate
cancer, there are probably untold men out there who are impotent and
maybe even incontinent, because they had a lab test come back funny,
and a biopsy was done which wouldn't otherwise have been and a prostate
with no lumps, and probably shouldn't have been.  Since there's a lot
of in situ prostate cancer that just sits there for the rest of the
patient's life, causing no problem.  If you don't want to see it, don't
look for it.  It's like listening for carotid bruits in the asyptomatic
patient.  It really is true that there are some things in medicine it's
best not to know.  *Unless* you have unusual self-restraint in referal,
and your patient is a completely phlegmatic type who is willing to
watch and wait in a state of unresolved tension.

   The real value of PSA is to see if treatment is working if you
already know you have cancer.  And better still, to track to see if a
cancer you thought you cured, has returned.  Beyond that, jury is still
out.  It's not standard of care, and if you do it on anxious men,
you're asking (they're asking) for trouble.

                                           Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: sci.physics
Subject: Re: Uncle Al on God
Date: 29 Dec 1999 02:38:29 GMT

In <> Richh <> writes:

>And, after 40, start a PSA baseline every two to four years?

   Big argument there, since PSA is made by enlarged prostates without
cancer, and by the time it gets to >10 where cancer is the only good
explanation, it's probably already too late.

   Doing biopsies for intermediate PSAs would (at the very best)
results in a lot of needless biopsies.  At the worst, since we don't
really know the natural history of unfeelable prostate cancers detected
on biospy only, we may be doing a lot of unnecessary really nasty
"curative" procedures on people who don't have a form of prostate
cancer agressive enough to warrent it.  Thus, a lot of unnecessary
impotence produced (since half the time, these procedures pretty much
cause impotence, even now).

  You can be thankful if you're not impotent.  However, you can't
really know that your prostate cancer would have done much to you, had
you done nothing at all.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: sci.physics
Subject: Re: Uncle Al on God
Date: 3 Jan 2000 08:52:11 GMT

In <84osiq$8k0$> writes:

>  Yep, and I thought Id add that I read almost all men get the cancer,
>if they live long enough. Many men who have died of old age have been
>found to have it. And, men whose fathers are older, tend to be more
>likely to have some kind of prostate problem, vs when they were younger.

   Yes, but we're talking about prostate cancer like it was one
disease.  There are more and less agressive kinds.  The one that you
become almost certain to get if you live long enough, is the least
aggressive kind.  It's not clear if anything needs to be done about it.
Of course, older people get the other kind also, and die it, like Linus
Pauling at 93.

  Again, there's a big difference between a tumor you can feel, and you
you see only on biopsy or samples from TURP.

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