A patient’s story: Why one man opted for lifestyle changes instead of treatment

Ben Hunter*, 64 years old, works as a film writer and director and is actively involved in various philanthropies. Ten years ago, he was much like any other man in his mid-50s: He was married with children, felt generally healthy, and had no real urinary difficulties. He tried to exercise when he could and ate a typical American diet.

After spending two years in California, where he was working on a film, Ben returned to his home on the East Coast in 1996. He contacted his doctor to schedule a routine physical exam. But his routine was about to be disrupted.

While doing a digital rectal exam, Ben’s internist felt something on his prostate gland that she described as an “anomaly” — not entirely normal, but not suggestive of cancer, either. She recommended a PSA test, which revealed that Ben’s PSA was 5.7 ng/ml. Ben subsequently underwent a prostate biopsy. One of the cores removed during the biopsy contained cancer. The Gleason score was 3+3. Ben underwent a bone scan and a computed tomography scan, but there was no evidence of metastases.

Ben sought advice from several doctors and did a great deal of research on his own. Almost every physician Ben consulted with suggested that he undergo traditional treatment with either a radical prostatectomy or some form of radiation therapy. After giving the matter much thought and doing extensive research, Ben instead decided on a strategy of active surveillance. In this interview, he explains why.

*Note: To maintain his privacy, Ben’s name has been changed. All other details are as reported.

Can you share some of the emotions and thoughts you had while dealing with your diagnosis?

You know, before I had prostate cancer I didn’t even know I had a prostate gland. So I went from a base of not even knowing that this gland existed to finding out I had cancer in it. At first, I was fearful. I couldn’t sleep at night. I was worried about the future.

What type of research did you do, as you evaluated treatment options? And what information most affected your decision?

I started to gather information and seek out other opinions about what I should do. I consulted with at least three physicians. What amazed me was that there were many choices, but no clear indication of which was best. I could choose from radical prostatectomy, traditional radiation, radioactive seeds, freezing the prostate, burning the prostate — there were all these different options. The doctors presented the pros and cons of each one and recommended that I think about it carefully and then decide what I wanted to do.

Nobody rushed me. The doctors all said this was a slow-growing cancer and that I could take a month or two to investigate and decide which way to go. But nobody suggested the option of active surveillance. At the time, that type of strategy was normally reserved for people who were a lot older than I was, or people who had some other serious medical condition that would make treatment too risky.

As it happens, my wife does occasional research about medical conditions for friends. So she helped me do research on the Internet as well as in books, to learn more about the disease so that I could try to make a treatment decision.

And what bothered me was that, literally in the first month that I was thinking about this, I started to hear anecdotes about other men in my position. I heard about one acquaintance who had surgery for prostate cancer, suffered adverse consequences, and then his cancer had come back. So that made me wonder how effective the treatments were. Those anecdotal pieces of evidence were very profound, because you’d think, “Wow, what if that happened to me? That would be a terrible outcome.” So I decided to really research and think things through carefully before doing anything.

It sounds as if the side effects of treatment were most bothersome to you, and might have had the most impact on your decision. Is that accurate?

I know some men with prostate cancer think, “Do whatever it takes to cure me of this disease.” For me, it was more a matter of weighing the risks and benefits.

At the time, what most hit me were the side effects of treatment. The doctors told me that with surgery there was a 30% chance of impotence, and maybe a 5% chance of incontinence. That’s a pretty stunning thing to hear, when you consider yourself in the prime of life and healthy. But radiation wasn’t any better. It had similar complications, with slightly different percentages, but it might also cause rectal damage. So I continued to research the various options and compare the numbers.

It became clear that the various treatments had slightly different side effect profiles, but not meaningfully different. So then it became a question of, if I’m going to face these side effects, what are the chances that a treatment will actually improve my health or my longevity? And what I found out was that there was no information that proved that any of these treatments would actually lengthen my life. So that really struck me. It was all risk and no guarantee of benefit.

You’ve made some significant lifestyle changes. Can you talk about why you thought this was so important?

From my research, I knew that in Japan, prostate cancer was very rare. I came across an autopsy study comparing men who died in auto accidents in either Japan or the United States. It found that the number of precancerous prostate lesions was about the same in both groups. And yet the prevalence of prostate tumors is much higher in America than it is in Japan [see Figure 1]. But when Japanese men move to America, after a generation or two, their prostate cancer rates are the same as American men. So this led me to hypothesize that prostate cancer is a lifestyle disease.

Figure 1. Prostate cancer risk varies by country

Prostate cancer risk varies by country

Various studies indicate that by age 60, American men are more likely to develop clinically detectable prostate tumors than are Japanese men, even though autopsy studies indicate that until age 50, microscopic prostate cancer cells are found in a similar percentage of American and Japanese men.

Source: Journal of Urology, April 1990.

This raised the possibility that if I could change my lifestyle, then perhaps I could combat the disease. An important part of my thinking was the fact that all the doctors I talked to agreed that prostate cancer, for most men, is a slow-growing disease. So I saw lifestyle change as a two-prong strategy: It might inhibit new tumors from emerging, while slowing the growth of existing tumors.

The slow-growing nature of these tumors also meant that there was always the chance that I would die from another disease or accident without facing the terrible side effects from prostate cancer treatment. And new medical or nonmedical treatments might emerge, such as a cancer vaccine. So in some ways I decided to play for time.

The final piece in my decision-making process was that I had an alternative: making lifestyle changes. I did some reading, and I went on the Internet and saw what people were posting in online support groups. I accumulated information slowly. In the end, I made about 50 lifestyle changes in response to having cancer.

What dietary changes did you make?

I am now a vegetarian. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I try to eat food that is as close to the source as possible, such as whole grains. First I followed a macrobiotic diet [see “Macrobiotic diet,” below]. But then I modified that diet as I read about additional studies. For instance, one study came out of Harvard about the benefit of eating cooked tomatoes, which reduces the risk of prostate cancer [see “Tomatoes and prostate cancer risk,” below]. So now I eat seven to 10 servings of cooked tomatoes per week in foods like spaghetti sauce and so on. For the past decade I have not eaten any kind of animal meat whatsoever. But I usually eat fish twice a week, for the omega-3 fats, which laboratory studies have shown may slow tumor growth. Each day, I drink one glass of red wine and have at least three cups of green tea — for the antioxidants, which limit cell damage.

Tomatoes and prostate cancer risk

A number of studies have concluded that eating tomatoes may reduce risk of prostate cancer. It remains unclear whether lycopene or some other nutrient in tomatoes is responsible.

Sources: Kristal AR. Vitamin A, Retinoids, and Carotenoids as Chemopreventive Agents for Prostate Cancer. Journal of Urology 2004;171:S54–8. PMID: 14713755.

Miller EC, Giovannucci E, Erdman JW, et al. Tomato Products, Lycopene, and Prostate Cancer Risk. Urology Clinics of North America 2002;29:83–93. PMID: 12109359.

I don’t eat dairy products or eggs. I’ve had almost no refined sugar in the past decade — not one single piece of cake or pie, not one doughnut, not one cupcake. For the past five years, I’ve had about one oatmeal raisin cookie a month, as an occasional indulgence.

One good thing about this diet: I’ve lost at least 10 pounds. And that’s important because I learned early on that keeping my weight down might protect against the development and progression of cancer.

Macrobiotic diet

As much a philosophy as a diet, macrobiotic eating emphasizes organically grown fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as food choices that contribute to health and internal balance.

What other sorts of changes have you made in your lifestyle?

I work on stress reduction. I now do yoga and go for massage therapy. I exercise about four times a week. And I try to take time to “smell the flowers,” as they say, and take walks in the woods.

I also take a COX-2 inhibitor, Celebrex, every day, because it may be helpful in keeping the cancer at bay [see “COX-2 inhibitors”].

COX-2 inhibitors

Evidence suggests that regular use of NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. But more research is necessary before doctors will be ready to recommend this strategy. It’s also important to remember that regular use of NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors has been linked to cardiovascular and kidney problems, so weigh all the health benefits and risks.

Source: Basler JW and Piazza GA. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Cyclooxygenase-2 Selective Inhibitors for Prostate Cancer Chemoprevention. Journal of Urology 2004;171:S59–62. PMID: 14713756.

And I take quite a few supplements every day, based on what I’ve studied on the Internet and in books. For example, I take B-complex vitamins and saw palmetto. In 1999, I went to a doctor who specializes in integrative medicine, who’s helped me modify some of the things that I take.

At one point, I took PC-SPES, a Chinese herbal remedy. This was actually recommended by a urologist at a hospital in New York who was being treated for colon cancer and was taking a similar compound, called SPES. I started taking a version for prostate cancer, PC-SPES, and it was very effective in lowering my PSA levels. But at the doses I was taking, it was mentally debilitating. So eventually I stopped. But I don’t regret taking it. I took it for the same reason that I’d consider hormone therapy at some point: Because the side effects aren’t permanent. And then the FDA took it off the market, because certain batches were contaminated with medications such as DES. [Note: DES is a synthetic estrogen once given to women to help prevent miscarriage. The manufacturer of PC-SPES is out of business; the supplement is no longer available.]

So I’ve really collected information from multiple sources, and then I evaluate the source. So, for example, if I read about a Harvard study, I figure that’s pretty reliable. But if someone is promoting something and I’ve never heard of it or them, I might look for information elsewhere and ask some people I respect before trying it.

How often do you monitor your PSA levels? And what other evaluations do you undergo to make sure the cancer is not advancing?

Since I was diagnosed, my PSA has moved up slowly from about 5.7 to about 12.2. So that’s a little more than double in the last 10 years. If we knew that was the doubling rate then it’d be great — I’d live to 140 — but of course the doubling rate could change.

I get my PSA tested every three or four months. I see my oncologist about once every nine or 10 months and occasionally have some tests to see if there’s any indication of spread [see “Monitoring tests”]. I’ve decided to avoid prostate biopsies for a couple of reasons. First of all, they hurt. Second of all, I believe the biopsies have risks. And third, there’s no information that I would receive from a biopsy that would cause me to do anything differently.

Monitoring tests

During a period of active surveillance, physicians may recommend the following tests to determine if prostate cancer is advancing:

  • Endorectal MRI
  • Abdominal-pelvic CT scan
  • Bone scan

It’s not particularly nerve-racking to engage in active surveillance. I like to try to keep track of what’s going on. One of the reasons I like PSA tests is that if my PSA goes up, it tends to reinforce the degree of persistence I have in doing my program. Sometimes I am not as diligent as I should be. So I use the PSA as a kind of wake-up call.

Your PSA levels have been elevated a few times, and you’ve found that these increases correlate with travel. Can you describe your experience with this?

A few times, my PSA has spiked. One time, it went from 8.6 to 11.7. Another time, it went from 8.9 to 12.0. I suspect it has to do with changes in my lifestyle. On probably four occasions, when I traveled to India and then had a PSA test after my return, we found the PSA jumped. I think that’s because of a combination of stresses. First of all, just sitting in an airplane for 10 or 12 hours is hard on the body, not to mention traveling through all those time zones. And when I travel like that I tend to get off my regimen. I’ll eat vegetarian food, but it may not be exactly what I would eat at home. I tend to be less diligent with my supplements when I’m traveling. I don’t get massages or practice other stress-reduction techniques. But so far, once I’ve been home for a while, my PSA levels stabilize or come back down to where they were.

What would have to change for you to consider being treated more traditionally? And what would you do?

If my PSA started to shoot up significantly, or stayed elevated, then I would talk to my doctor about how I might use hormone treatments to keep the disease at bay. I consider hormone treatment something to keep in my “gunnysack,” because although it involves side effects, for the most part they’re not permanent. Of course, before making a decision, I’d evaluate the known risks.

Few people in 1996 decided on active surveillance. Knowing what you do now, would your treatment selection be the same?

I know active surveillance isn’t for everyone. I just know that for me, this was the right choice. I’d make the same choice today that I did 10 years ago. But I’d be less afraid, and I’d be more decisive. You know, there’s more information now than there was 10 years ago. Now we know, for example, that prostate cancer metastases apparently may happen very early in the game, even earlier than the point at which I was diagnosed. And 10 years ago we didn’t know that my Gleason score [3+3] was only moderate risk. And then, of course, there’s been more information about alternative steps that help prostate cancer.

Any other thoughts?

This is sincere: I am glad to have cancer because it caused me to clean up my life. Today I feel better, I’m living healthier, and because of the lifestyle changes I’ve made, I’ve reduced my risk of heart attack, stroke, and other diseases. At least according to the actuarial tables, I’m going to live longer. So I’ve actually benefited from having this disease.

Originally published Jan. 1, 2007; last reviewed February 18, 2011.


  1. Billy

    I was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a biopsy in February 2011 at the age of 68.I had a PSA of 4.1 at the time and a Gleason Score of 3+3=6.I was told that I had an option of radiation or surgery. I found that I had another option which was Active Surveillance.My urologist did not tell me this. I found out while researching the disease. I thought that this was the way for me. I began to fight the cancer by de-toxing and taking Essiac and Maitake mushroom fraction D on a regular basis. I stopped drinking alcohol and began to eat foods that fight cancer. I do not eat fast foods, white rice,white sugar, and white rice. I added pomegranate juice and various nuts to my diet.I read that walking three hours a week helps to stop the growth of prostate cancer.I also eliminated process foods, beef, pork and sweets. I eat a lot of vegetables,especially tomatoes, fruits, salmon,green and ginger tea, and chicken.I drink water with lemon at times. I use Stevia as a sweetener. I pray using verses in healing from the Bible. I also meditate.While I am meditating I imagine seeing the word “healing” emanating from my prostate gland. I had another biopsy in 2012 and cancer was found in another area that was not detected in the previous biopsy;however,cancer was not found in the area previously diagnosed. My PSA’s were and are up and down. There were 12 cores taken each time that I had a biopsy and only one core had 5% cancer in each of the first two biopsies. In 2012 and 2013 cancer was not detected in any of the cores from the biopsies. I have declined to do anymore biopsies even though my urologist think that I should. I feel good and my last PSA recently was 3.8. The one before was 3.2.I get PSA’s every six months. I also get DRE’s periodically.I am now 75 years old and still active sexually.I drink red wine now and cheat on my diet occasionally. Most people eat three meals a day which comes up to 1,095 meals a year. Cheating every now and then has proved not to be detrimental.Dr. William Li’s anti-angiogenesis diet is healthful also.I have used the Kegel exercise due to frequent urination at times.

  2. Hamdy samy

    Interesting article and common to so many men. My personal experience is quite similar. Following the discovery of a PSA 6.44 in 2013, I was pressured into a biopsy etc… I was diagnosed with a prostate cancer Gleason 4+4. This did quite much change my life. I decided not to follow classic medicine of surgery, radio and chemio as suggested. I also extensively studied all alternatives and decided to stay clear from the hospitals. Now in 2018, 5 years later, my PSA rose to 19,8 and cancer size has increased from 11 to 12,5 mm. I think cancer is a blessing and although I know I am very lucky, I am confident that I can manage my disease for a certain more number of years. I changed my lifestyle and diet and opted for a stress free life. I am now 55

  3. Dick Pronk

    an appendix to my story yesterday
    I have increased my physical exercise viz. walking
    I walk one day in a walking group in the mountains of the Pyrenees and the rest of the week I try to maintain walking on the boulevards – roughly between 70 and 100 km per week.
    other sports have negative side effects, like running, most people are a bit weighty and ruin there knees,
    cycling I call a lazy sport.
    the other item I will deepen: the visit to dr. Bihl in Stuttgart: he invites about 4 to 5 patients – they all have to be there at noon, as soon as the last person arrives he orders a lab to make a nuclear based medicine which has a maximum life-time of 6 hours – whilst waiting for the arrival of the medicine he asks the patients to drink water with a reactionary substance what will make the 7meters long intestines go white on the computer screens and underneath more darker so to observe and notice more clearly the reaction in colour of the nuclear based medicine what will be inserted in a vein of an arm just before entering the MRI-scan – dr. Bihl has two assistants, also physicians,
    they all look at what appears on the screen and the patients who are send there by local physicians who are dealing with critical patients and self searching ones like me.
    Of course local physicians DO NOT like sending patients to this specialist because it can show them up in a negative light….
    The PSA has a soft maximum of 4 and a hard maximum of 10
    when that is reached something should be done.
    The result I got was that I had a tiny inflammation in the lobes of the prostate, which goes away by itself.
    The HIFU-system(I think it means High Intensity Frequency Unit) is to burn the bad molecules in the prostate and leave the good ones untouched and one is cured and enjoy sex again. The prostate with older men are mostly bigger and have to be shrunk by a chemical medicine(sometimes with side effects) or in the HIFU treatment it is peeled first (like a potatoe) to fit the machine.

  4. Dick Pronk

    I read the patient’s story (i.e.Ben Hunter) with great interest because I studied for abt. 20 years from age 50 to 70 a few nights a week in internet and learned a few things from specialists(few) who were honest…
    my PSA slowly went upwards in a yo-yo style than 5.6 changing into 7.3 than 6.2 so when it goes up and down it is not prostate-cancer it is benign hyperplasia – my prostate is 5 times bigger than normal-normal is 30grams,mine is 160grams I am waiting for a MRI-scan(resonancia magnética).
    What I have learned by meeting a technician who actually
    had prostate cancer,where the specialist insisted on “biopsy” 6 takes which caused bleeding and they did not find any cancer, than 10 times “biopsy”(having heavy bleeding for a solid 2 weeks, almost causing a trauma) than a few had cancer results but this rich man phoned anywhere in the world for a secure-treatment of killing the cancer cells but not the good ones so that he could be cancer free and still uses his prostate. He found only one place in the world viz.
    a prostate clinic in Heidelberg, Germany who uses the HIFU-system a bit different than other clinics and with better results.After a year his PSA went from 0 to 1.0 than he had to call- they advised him to go to Stuttgart dr. Bihl and have a MRI-scan -they saw cancer-cells roaming around the prostate – he than phoned LE(=Life Extension)in USA who are a group of young physicians who make their own supplements
    after discussion amongst the group they advised him which
    supplements to take – which strength – and when to take it and how many times a day.
    with this knowledge, when my PSA climbed in a wave-pattern passed 10.0 the specialist wanted a “biopsy” which I refused. In jan.2018 it was 12 – in april it peaked at 17 –
    than I started really to change my eating habits –
    and in 3 weeks it went down to 11.3 also I noted that my CRP went down as well from 0.55 to 0.11,
    because eating tomatoes and fish flushed down by pomegranate
    (100%)juice eating more vegetables(broccoli) and fruit(mixing several red fruits)as well bananas plus walnuts&pistache.
    A note: I use fish viz tuna fish in olive oil in glass pots
    (not in cans)
    Doctors should NEVER prescribe: taking “biopsy” from the prostate. WHY: they make a hole in that tiny organ –
    if there is cancer it can escape – but what is more critical or dangerous is the fact that the needle can destroy the function of the valve in the middle of that tiny organ which will make the patient incontinent – several doctors advice
    to take the whole organ away than it happened a lot that the “biopsy” of the removed prostate appeared to be benign and not cancerous. But than the damage is done and the patient can hardly drink anything anymore and has to try the wake up dormant muscles(only possible with very strong willed men but taking abt 3 to 6 months) around his urine tract in order to drink something.I am taking now when I go to sleep a tablet(SILODYX 8mg)in order to shrink my oversized prostate.
    Extra note: I am 78years of age
    I am the first born from 5, no.2 2 years younger never had anything checked by regular blood results and eating mostly
    in the States(assigned work)reached 65 years of age and after 3 month they found prostate cancer and within 3 month he perished.
    I take abt. 10 different supplements all anti-oxidant, rising immune levels also saw palmetto,Lycopene,vit.E,Selenium,Q10,B-complex,B12,Silicium
    Eating: no more potatoes, no more fried, no meat, no cola or juices, no alcohol, no more eggs, no sausages, no milk products, only from plants, no butter, no mayonnaise, etc
    So a great website, but missing a few items.
    Dutchman, living in Spain, still learning+reading


    the best article ever thanks my doctor discover a very high PSA but at 77 years old I am not worried my PSA the last 10 years has been having a yo-yo up and down but now reading that article will change my diet or already very good but without tomatoes will try that one.
    thanks again

  6. Stu.

    What a great website.

  7. Stu.

    Just to let you know I had a biopsy in September 2017. From being a fit and healthy 60 year old I suffered from having to be hospitalised on antibiotics and Psychologically in a bad place, especially after being fit and healthy. In the ward I was in were men who had Biopsies and were now Amputees from sepsis. Sepsis in UK hospitals is a massive risk factor. I have been told that Biopsies for prostrate cancer are going to be a procedure of the past,due to sepsis. If you look at research of Biopsies it states a 5 per cent risk of sepsis ask your Urologist when that research came out it was in the late 90s early 2000. By the way I paid privately and I am still in no mans land.
    But no more for me. If you get an MRI scan and get a good radiographer who can read Prostrate scans that’s the road to go down. But remember a scan is only as good as the person who can read it. With up to date scans even transperineal Biopsies should be a thing of the past, albeit this has a 1 percent chance of sepsis.

  8. Frank

    Helpful sharing. For the reason for prostate disease or even say all disease has been partly caused by bad lifestyle and bad habit, so change lifestyle must be one efficient way to save ourselves out. For me is chronic prostatitis, and now i have to take one herbal medicine diuretic and anti-inflammatory pill to control my symptoms, which has been best choice for me. I don’t want to take any antibiotics any more.

  9. Chris

    My thanks to Ben for this article and all the men who have posted comments. I’m in the early, exploratory stages. I’m 68 and my PSA has been slowly rising; 7.1 from the most recent test. I’m still waiting for the results of an MRI though my urologist has scheduled me for a biopsy.

    I share all men’s fears about the side effects of surgery and other treatment options. What is described here is very encouraging and helpful.

  10. Kevin O'Shea

    I am 56 years old. Six weeks ago I had quadruple open heart surgery. Came out of the blue. I had bloodwork done two weeks ago and got a call saying my PSA level rose from .75 in September 2016 to 10.8 just two weeks ago. My primary physician sent me to a urologist and his digital exam revealed nothing out of the ordinary. The bloodwork they did at the urologist came back at 8.5. That’s down 2.3 points in a week but that may be less significant that the original jump. Ihave an MRI scheduled in a few weeks. I hope that my numbers just went whacko with all the trauma, inflamation, catheters, enemas of heart surgery but a nurse kind of threw cold water on that bit of thinking. Anyone else have strange numbers after heart by-pass surgery?

  11. Ronald Muse

    after prostate surgery. How do you measure doubling? Do you start at 0.1 or 0.04 ?

  12. Steve

    I had a company health check in 2015 which showed a PSA level of 6.4. I am 62 years of age and in good health and had no symptoms. I had an MRI scan which came back negative but my doctor advised a biopsy.
    I decided to go ahead with this and it was a bit uncomfortable but not painful. Had a bit of blood in my urine and semen for a few days, but no infections or anything.
    Don’t let other people’s experiences put you off as everyone is different.
    Anyway, my Gleason score came back at 3+4 .
    The consultant talked it through with me advising of the different routes they could take and the pro’s and con’s of each one. To be honest, I didn’t fancy any of them so I asked about active surveillance which she hadn’t mentioned when describing the different routes, but she agreed to it, so it was just as well I mentioned it.
    I have PSA test now every 4months.
    The first one after the biopsy went up to 7.2 and then the following one was 6.5 even though I wasn’t aware of doing anything different.
    It has crept up to 8.2 then back to 7.3 on my last check.
    I am quite happy to continue with the active surveillance as I can see it fluctuating but not climbing excessively .
    Studies show that if you are diagnosed with a slow growing type of cancer it should stay slow growing, as that is its type, and shouldn’t change into a fast growing type, which makes sense to me.

  13. Greg

    My Psa jumped from 6.7 to 14.7 in 4 weeks. I declined a biopsy and have gone totally vegan. I still have pain in groin area. It seems there arnt that many options out there. I am not a doctor fan as most of the time they have no idea what they are doing. Any other alternative suggestion would be most welcome.

  14. SChskraborty

    I am from India ,age 68,good health and proportionate weight. In 2009 on general check up my PSA level shown 4.5ng.Atteding Doctor advised not think over the issue.In 2014 September I suffered from Urinary track infection.Doctor advised some antibiotics and I got relief.He advised to consult urologist for better treatment.the uro doc suggested for ultrasonography of lower abdomen,PSA test uroflow etc.done.report shows enlarged prostate,high PSA.and prescribed some antibiotics like bioff,alivoy..after taking 2/3 months again PSA was done result show 9.73ng.I was mentally worried ,consulted another uro logistics who verbally advised for biapsy but prescribed Zenocine for 1 month after 1 month PSA result 10.23. He advised to ready for biapsy but again advised for another antibiotics.I consulted another Uro who done DRE And total free PSA test. PSA test9.70 he prescribed me fosirol 8gm(powder form) for 5 days each after 2 days interval. And prescribed bacstrol200 for 1 month.he also suggested for biapsy.I am taking Urimax ;4 mg for last 3 years.mentally I am not prepared for biapsy.I have changed my life style no milk or milk product,meat.spicy food.much veg.I daily walk for 45 minutes do some yoga.I am inspired by going through the comments of so many person who sufferer like me.I think biapsy may cause complection.since it a slow moving let me live in natural way ZZ and hope 10 years may be passed provided no other deseas attract or any accident happens. I am waiting for PSA test after 1 month.

    • John don

      My psa four years ago was 2.0,last year 2.7,now 3.8.im 61 year ,what should I expect from up coming Dr visit? & what opstions do I have?

  15. Gregory

    I had got diagnosed with prostate cancer back in May 2017 at the age of 40. My Gleason score was at a 7. I already had a kidney transplant back in 3/19/2002. I couldn’t do any chemo, radiation or anything that would affect My kidney. So the Doctor suggested Me to get the surgery to remove the prostate. I changed my diet. I stop eating meat. I haven’t drank any alcohol since January 2001. I try researching what other Men did. It was still hard for Me to decide on which way to go. My Wife and family were pushing Me to do the surgery. I was fighting that cause of all the side effects I will have to deal with. So I gave in and got the surgery April 14th. I’m doing alright so far and I don’t see the Doctor till November. So I pray for a good report.

    • Zenab

      Hey gregory. My father is 59 with 5.9 PSA but also enlarged prostate and UTI. Did u had any of these too? Because we too eant him to go for a surgery for prostate removal. Do u recommend that? And what are the do’s and dont’s for the surgery. Much thanks

  16. Bryan

    August 16, 2017

    After about 5 years since my last physical and blood work, I recently saw my new PCP. Since I am 58 years old, agreed to blood work. 1 day later, I received a call, saying my PSA was 4.067 and they order more blood work in 3 months. I agree to have it done. Your website and comments have solidified my decision not to have any biopsies done. All natural treatment and lifestyle changes. Thanks

  17. Chuck

    I am 71, I noticed blood in semen, also was having terrible time urinating, very difficult, up and down all night, very tired. Day time also problems, more often, and while biking, cycle up to 500kms a month. Changed saddle some improvement. Then discovered Saw Palmetto, it took about a month to make things better, but slowly peeing became normal, now once or twice at night, stopping drinking about 2000hrs, day time normal. However still blood in semen, went to doctor, he gave me antibiotic which has stopped blood problem. PSA checked found 7.9. But after antibiotics came down to 5.7. First visit doctor stuck his finger up my bum and said I have swollen prostate. Second visit was with Urologist, he recommended biopsy taking 12 samples with needle up my bum. I was not keen after all I had read, possible infection, hurts, bleeding etc.Told doctor preferred wait first. Third visit he prescribed Xatral. As I already had enough Saw Palmetto did not take, also my PSA had dropped to 5.2. Fourth visit after six weeks and on holiday eating and drinking more than usual, hardly any biking PSA came back up to 5.9. I have reluctantly agreed to take his Xatral, but not convinced necessary, I told him about only taking Saw Palmetto. Other reason did not take Xatral was that according to makers inst it does same job. Next check up plus from today 3 months. Now back on exercise routine, also changed to another more comfy saddle. Again today Urologist was pushing for biopsy, I agreed wait until next visit. I like the idea of taking a natural medice compared to a modern medicine. Jury still out on Xatral. I am also taking a daily cuppa sour sop leaves, said to cure many things. Chuck.

  18. Jon

    My take, my level is 3.9 and I have a Dr. whose nurse called me four times to do a biopsy. Do I need one? They tested me after I had sex the first time so after telling them they did another test. The level 1st was 3.6 2nd test was 3.9, so should I do the biopsy? I want to wait and do the test again. Please help me decide. My buddy did the test and still died of cancer. My other friend did the test three times and he’s 70 and said he bled like having a woman’s period after and hurt for days.

  19. William bagala

    Did biopsy Little over a year ago when PSA had risen to 7.4 they did 12 cores found one core Gleason six and did another test on that tissue showing a very low risk of spreading have BPH and age 68 also did free PSA which wasn’t too bad at 22 but in the last year my PSA has fluctuated and recent test shows 7.9 another test will be done in two months don’t know what to expect the doctor is not very talkative and wondering what will happen if it goes up past eight since all the other tests have been relatively good

  20. David Dale

    I am struggling with ed, psa almost 5 now, always tired, overweight. (6’1″) 280 lbs. Dr a always wants to give prescriptions. Just started green tea, soon will join t he gym and no meat. Don’t have or make a lot of money. Holistic dr cost did much a and very unaffordable. I really just need help, and I indulge in prayers. Please send me a better routine and a better way to do this. I appreciaste you much. T hank y ou.

  21. Bonnie Margolis

    Is eating edamame and increasing soy recommended ? Asking for a male friend.

  22. Rkrao

    after my above note,an young doctor friend suggested a urine culture to check for infection as PSA can go up with an infection.The urine culture revealed an infection and i was put on a course of Norflox 400mg. After that my PSA came down to 18.18.i am continuing the homeopathic medicine[R-25 of Dr RECKEWEG] ,no problem with urination.i am also doing kapal bhati pranayama,a yogic exercise of breath control which is reputed to have a beneficial effect on overall health.

  23. Sonawane Subhash

    I am 70 plus Indian in Pune. Five years ago, I had accidental discovery to know that my psa was 73 !

    From there on, till today 2017…I have undergone a major prostate operation TURP, oral harmone therapies, radiation and six cycles of chemotherapy in 2016.

    After the ptostate operation, psa came down to 1.85 but it started rising slowly despite harmonal therapy. Even after 28 sittings of radiation, it went from 5 to 6. And it was rising. With the expensive oral drug Abiraterone for three months therafter, it rose from 16 to 32 !? Then, it came down to 0.85 after four and half months painful experience of chemotherapy. But with the chemo, I lost quality of life losing appetite, taste of food, digestion and loss of sleep, eventually.

    Now today, about one year after the chemo…my psa has gone up to 46 !

    Doctors advise me a second round of chemo with more powerful drug which I flatly refused. However, I have no other direction as how to deal with this situation. I think I ought to concentrate on Diet and Routine to make an effort. Huge amount of information in that respect is available in books and on internet.

    Simple vegetarian diet more with raw and half-cooked vegetables, fresh fruits and juices, long walk, breathing exercises (pranayam/yoga) and some select food items such as tomatoes, broccoli, turmeric, pomegranate, grapes, raisins etc might help.

    Any suggestions…advice ?

  24. Rkrao

    I am 81 and in good health.i walk two to three Km.daily and play table-tennis off and on.A month back while repairing a geyser i fell on my back from a stool and took a hard hit that left me with a sever low-back pain.As the pain persisted for more than a month ,the family doctor suggested a PSA test.It was 25 ng/mL. A consulting urologist after DRE suggested a biopsy.I did not want any intrusive tests. In my search for alternatives i came to this excellent site and the wealth of information provided.It gave me confidence to try lifestyle changes and avoid biopsy..I did not have any symptoms of Pc.i am also trying homeopathic medicine CONIUM 200 and will take PSA after one month.i will post the result.

  25. ken hanson

    I am 62 years old and 5 years ago my psa jumped to 9. 12 core biopsy negative. 1 year later it was 11. Saturation biopsy 48 cores negative. 1 year later huge drop from
    11 to 8. 2015 psa dropped from 8 to 6. And last year psa rose to 6.8. Any ideas on whats going on after 5 years ??

  26. Ricky

    I had a enlarged prostate for years but my psa was always good but recently my enlarge prostate was causing my bladder not to empty so i had surgery its been about 20 months now my psa is up to a 8.9 and there are no elisions on my prostate now my urologist want to do a biopsy which im not to sure about

  27. Ray

    I just turned 81 and my psa rose from 4 to 5.7. The doctor can feel a rough spot on my prostate. I am thinking of waiting and watching for now? I have always exercised 3-4 times a week.

  28. Paul Bodnar

    This was a most helpful article. I was just diagnosed with PC. My PSA progressed from 4.2 in 2015 to 5.07 in 2015 to 5.71 in December 2016, so we did a biopsy. Gleason score is 3+3. We will be meeting with my urologist in a few days and talk about possible interventions. Your reflections helped me be better prepared for that discussion. I will provide follow-up information once I have the conversation with him.

    • Siuberto Socarras

      Hi Paul. I read your post below just today. I have recently been diagnosed with a similar Gleason score. The results of my biopsy are going through a genetic testing by the Prolaris company in a few days. I will get the results in a few days and will have to make some decisions regarding treatments. Can you share an update of how things have come for you this year?

      Paul Bodnar
      January 27, 2017
      This was a most helpful article. I was just diagnosed with PC. My PSA progressed from 4.2 in 2015 to 5.07 in 2015 to 5.71 in December 2016, so we did a biopsy. Gleason score is 3+3. We will be meeting with my urologist in a few days and talk about possible interventions. Your reflections helped me be better prepared for that discussion. I will provide follow-up information once I have the conversation with him.
      Paul. I read your post below just today. I have recently been diagnosed with a similar Gleason score.

  29. William Conti

    My PSA rose from around 4.5 in 2015 to 6.0 in July of 2016. At that time, my urologist detected via the digital test what he described as a slight enlargement but no nodules, etc. He said that a doctor can only feel one side of the prostate with the digital exam so he ordered an MRI which revealed no abnormalities. We planned to wait until December of last year, take another PSI and see where it was. Just about a week ago, after returning from a 2-week trip to Japan and Taiwan, I had the PSA which read 9.75–quite a jump. I told him about my trip and some sexual activity I’d had and requested another PSA in about a week. I have been taking Ben Ong’s “Total Health” for about 2 years along with Saw Palmetto. I do have a reduced urine flow but am still functioning. I was glad to read about some of the lifestyle changes I can make here which make sense. I really hadn’t thought about stress as a factor.

  30. philip adkins

    my psa has been rising from 10 to 75 for the last 12 years – i have had 10 mri scans-nuclear scan- a biopsy proved negative 8 years ago -but psa still elevated-i had septisema from last biopsy which was awful- now they advise hormone treatment – i am still fit at present no problem passing urine always had slight pain for years after emptying bladder-they consider i have prostate cancer-but i do not want invasive treatment-what next.

  31. Bill Hilton

    I am 67; I do not have cancer but have recently been diagnosed (MRI and biopsy) with benign hyperplasia PSA level around 8, with a recent rise over 5 months. Medical professionals here (UK) have been very gentle and sympathetic but seem to have no notion or interest in anything but conventional ‘hard’ treatments (my mention of internet research and a search for ‘alternative’ approaches met with grimaces), so it has been great to have internet research and community views. I identify several factors that may have led to my hyperplasia including stress at work prior to my retirement, increased financial concerns, lack of exercise in the last two years, dietary factors and recent depression leading to a ‘who cares?’ approach to my health. I am inspired to lifestyle changes, having grandkids who (thankfully) see me as significant in their lives. Thank you to all who contribute to this discussion.

  32. John Downes

    I had a routine blood test in 2013 age 55..my PSA was 5.1. I have now had another blood test at 58 and my PSA has risen to 8.1. My doctor does not want me to undergo another biopsy due to the risk factor for infection. I will now do a 6 monthly blood test to monitor any increase.
    This is a very interesting article for surveillance and lifestyle change…which I will now be looking into and implementing.
    Thanks John.

  33. Terence Graham Bakewell

    On a routine blood test a p.s.a reading was picked up. As a result I had a biopsy the result was Negative. After a 12 month period I had another blood test with a slight rise in the psa level,I had another biopsy which resulted in a bad infection but the result was once again Negative. I have had another blood test and another rise as been detected. I am 70 years of age and I don’t want to have another biopsy do to the bad infection I got from the last biopsy. I now eat drink and exercise sensibly. I do not want any more invasive treatment as I do fear after getting a infection from the 2nd biopsy this could cause prostate problems in the future.I have NO Signs or Symptoms or any form of Waterwok Problems

  34. David

    “Ben” didn’t mention alcohol use during his lifestyle change

    Any hint of his direction on this one ?

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  37. Amine Zeremariam

    Your information was very helpful thank you.
    I have been struggling with this problem for over ten years.
    The PSA fluctuates up and down, but the prostate is very small it is not enlarged.
    I had a prostititis which was caused by the primary dr got me infected and almost killed me.
    Do you think I my have a scar tissue from the prostititis that cause the fluctuation of the PSA?
    I dreaded to have biopsy!!!
    I have seen four urologists and every one wanted biopsy.
    If it was cancer it would have killed me by now, but they just want to do biopsy.
    Now I know from the information you gave I can have ct scan.

    Thank you

  38. Stephen Good

    I have been treated for prostate cancer by two months with radiation. Hardly any side effects which disappeared after. The key to a psa reading is how fast it jumps up. Mine went from a 2 to 8 in a couple if months. My biopsy had 2 cancers out of the 12 spots tested in my prostate. Gleason scores of 7 and 8. I became a vegan and have a trelstar shot every 3 months.

  39. Murali S Nair


    I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer last year at the age of 53. My Gleason score is 3+3 with biopsy indicating cancer in one core. My doctor decided to place me on active surveillance based on the digital rectal examination as well as the MRI results. Six months down the road a repeat MRI revealed no significant progress whatsoever of the the cancer. However, my PSA, 8.6 six months ago, was recorded as 12.1 now. M doctors view is that the MRI is a better reflection of the state of my cancer (nothing to worry about) and that the PSA should be monitored once every two months. In the meantime he encouraged me to make lifestyle changes, live healthy etc and is confident that my PSA reading will drop.

    I am aware of supplements that can lower the PSA level.

    My question is: Is the lowering of the PSA just a case of masking the output and not necessarily an indication of improvement or stabilization of the cancer? Could this supplements cause a ‘false’ reading and thereby provide a false sense of security?

    I hope to get some clarification on this. Thank you.

    M. Nair

    • Aniruddh

      Dear Sir,
      My father was just diagnised with the PSA level of 12.72 that was rise to level of 3.9 within 2 years of time -meanwhile he was taking the tablets as Tom flo and Quantiflo for 2 years .Doctors now suggested for bioapsy , what is your suggestion in this matter as you have already gone through all these procedures.

      • Alex Nwokoji

        I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In October I had a hormone injection which i followed with the placing of gold markers in my prostate in preparation for radiation. I have been doing my research and I prefer alternative treatment to the conventional treatment due to the side effects. I have changed my diet. I shop for mainly organic vegetables and fruits with daily intake of a minimum of 8 apricot seeds, three capsules of essay tea and total health from Ben Ong. I only use coconut oil to cook and I have stayed away from milk, any form of bread. I take a spoonful of cumin black seed oil, dandelion tea, which I alternate with need tea. I have totally stopped taking flomax. I will be getting back to regular exercise and will take a PSA test in January. If my PSA does not come down then I will opt for alternative treatment. I have no doubt that my PSA would come down.

  40. Ramon Maza

    This is a very insightful website. I agree that cancer will and should make you be conscious of your health. I knew that I was going to opt for surgery so I started going to the gym religiously before the surgery. That created and totally whole lifestyle change for me and as you know, if you start going to the gym religiously, everything else healthy follows. It’s only been a month and I am still recovering, so we will see what happens. But, from a mental standpoint, I am feeling much better.

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