My Dad on Prostate Cancer

by Christina on November 20, 2014

In medical school I was routinely convinced I had whatever cancer we were studying. My gums bled with flossing and I was sure I had leukemia. I had a headache or my fingers tingled, I had a brain tumor. I felt a nodule on my thyroid, I had thyroid cancer. That mole was definitely a melanoma. I convinced myself I felt a mass in my belly, must be ovarian or colon cancer.

Cancer. A fear for many. A reality for millions. The 2nd leading cause of death in America. It’s a disease we know a lot about, but still have tons to learn. A disease we are getting better at preventing, but still limited in treating.

I hope you find this guest post from my dad interesting. He has been an inspiration to me in studying cancer prevention and how people can empower themselves to live healthy and fulfilled live in the face of serious health threats.

Prostate Cancer, by Chris Palmer

My father died of prostate cancer. My body is very similar to his, so I suspect there’s a good chance I will die that way, too. So when my PSA score (which is a measure of prostate cancer) started rising last year when I turned 65, I was naturally concerned.

Two independent urologists strongly recommended I have a biopsy.

I resisted their advice. The procedure seemed barbaric, risky, and potentially misleading. I didn’t have faith that it would produce a useful result.

Instead I intensified a diet I started many years ago, cutting out all meat, processed sugar, cow milk, and anything else which has been shown to feed and nurture cancer, while eating significant amounts of fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, which have been shown to fight cancer.  Johns Hopkins has some data behind all of this that I follow with interest.

Every morning for breakfast, I have blueberries, pomegranate seeds, an apple, kiwi, walnuts, raisons, flaxseed, an orange, soymilk, raison bran, raspberries, and blackberries. And for lunch, I have two raw carrots, four tomatoes, a glass of green juice, a banana, an apple, raw mushrooms, spinach, dark chocolate, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, almond nuts, and whatever else I can find which is healthy and organic. Dinner is similarly healthy. Tonight my wife and I ate mushrooms, garlic, red pepper, cauliflower, black beans, corn on the cob, tomatoes, lettuce, and spinach.

I’m sure the hour of daily vigorous exercise I do helps me combat any prostate cancer I might have (or potentially have). Also I lead a meaningful and happy life virtually devoid of stress. I’m sure that helps, too.

I saw a TED talk recently by Dr. Dean Ornish, and he showed a slide of a patient’s prostate cancer, and how the tumor had literally shrunk after the patient had consumed a diet similar to mine. It was Dean Ornish who persuaded Bill Clinton to become a strict vegan for health reasons.

I hope I don’t sound too smug or complacent. I realize that I need to keep working on this. And I realize that there’s a chance that I will need traditional medical intervention at some point.

Anyway, my recent PSA tested at a reassuring 4.0 level, thus improving the chance that I will see my wonderful grandchildren blossom into middle age.

Here is the relevant part of my personal mission statement: “I will move as much as possible to an organic, plant-based diet to avoid malnourishment and toxic food. Because my father died of prostate cancer, I have to accept the reality that in all likelihood there are malignant cells in my prostate. I will maintain an aggressive prostate cancer treatment regimen (through diet and exercise) and in the process reduce my risk for virtually every other age-related disease.”

I’ll get tested again in six months.

For more, check out this interview with him: A Dad’s Yoga Lessons.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris Palmer November 21, 2014 at 12:22 am

Such an honor to be featured in your blog!

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