Experts: Complementary and alternative medicine therapies show great potential in urology

May 15, 2007

Alternative therapies still hold great potential in treating BPH, prostatitis, and prostate cancer.

Key Points

Alternative therapies still hold great potential in treating BPH, prostatitis, and prostate cancer, concluded four research leaders in prostate disease who analyzed the evidence and brought their conclusions here to the Roundtable Discussion of Vitamins, Minerals, and Phytochemicals In Prostate Disease, sponsored by Farr Labs, LLC. But they urged urologists to encourage regulation and to work with manufacturers to provide efficacy and safety data and quality control.

"These therapies are here to stay," said J. Curtis Nickel, MD, professor of urology at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario.

There's great potential for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the watchful waiting population of men with prostate cancer, said Mark A. Moyad, MD, MPH, Phil F. Jenkins Director of Preventive and Alternative Medicine in the department of urology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, and editor-in-chief of Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine. These men don't want to sit back and do nothing for themselves; indeed, they already use CAM therapies extensively, he pointed out.

"I want patients to understand how the real-world impact of preventive medicine goes beyond prostate cancer itself," he said, noting that only 10 of the 1,123 deaths in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial were because of prostate cancer.

The leading cause of death, as it is in the general population and as it has been for the past 106 years, was cardiovascular disease. In fact, in the first 10 years of treatment for prostate cancer, the leading cause of death-after prostate cancer itself-is a cardiovascular event. Encouraging patients to reduce their cardiovascular risk with diet, exercise, and control of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity will give them the best chance of survival, Dr. Moyad said.

"Ninety-nine times out of 100, if it's heart healthy, it's prostate healthy," he tells his patients.