Natural Research for Prostate and Breast Cancer
Among the biological differences between men and women come differences in disease risks, particularly regarding prostate and breast cancer. According to Breastcancer.org, about one in eight women (about 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer throughout their lifetime . Likewise, Cancer.org reported about one in nine men (about 11%) will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime . Even though general cancer rates have been declining, these cancer rates have been rising in the United States, along with other countries [3-4].
Prostate and breast cancer share similarities, such as being related to steroidal sex hormones, having hereditary links, and food intake and environmental toxins can be an attributing cause . Though genetics plays a role in the development of these cancers, lifestyle and exposure are mostly of more significant importance [6-7].
We can also tell lifestyle and environment play a pivotal moderating role when we examine immigrants who have moved from one country to America. For example, when investigating Japanese immigrants, it takes about two to three generations in the United States before the rates of these cancers increase dramatically. The first generation, however, rarely sees an increased rate because they typically adhere to their native diet.
These environmental exposures include a wide array of common chemicals, including BPA, atrazine, dioxin, phthalates, PCBs, DDT, perfluorooctanoic acid (nonstick cookware), pesticides, and herbicides, such as glyphosate [8-10].
In this article, we will examine the similarities between prostate and breast cancer, natural solutions to prevent them, and natural ways to treat them. All of the information is substantiated by published, peer-reviewed studies that will be referenced below. *
Understanding Risk Factors
With prostate cancer, risk factors can include age, ethnicity, genetics, and high levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone that stimulates the development of male characteristics and is made through the conversion of testosterone . As a result, testosterone and DHT levels may also be an indicator of one’s risk of prostate cancer. For example, on average, black men have 10% greater testosterone than white men and correspondingly, have the highest rate of prostate cancer. Contrary, Japanese men typically have lower testosterone levels and as a result, have the lowest prostate cancer rate.
Genetics can also play a role, though it is minuscule. The most significant role genetics can play is when an androgen [sex hormone] receptor gene mutates, and a similar effect happens with breast cancer. In most cases, though, these genes are not mutating, but overreactive. When a gene is overreactive, it will convert too much testosterone into DHT, which increases prostate cancer risk. Men who are deficient in DHT [5-alpha-reductaseenzyme] will never develop prostate cancer . Which helps to explain why Asian men have low rates of prostate cancer; they have low levels of DHT.
Other risk factors include having a vasectomy, early first-time intercourse, having many sex partners, and having a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), naming a few. Each of these risk factors can cause prostatitis [swelling and inflammation of the prostate]. For example, a 1971 study found that men who had sex outside of their mirage had a significantly increased risk of developing prostate cancer . High levels of sexual activity increase one’s risk of contracting an STD, which causes inflammation. While we understand that high levels of testosterone are a risk factor, high levels of estrogen can increase prostate cancer risk [14-15].
The Relationship Between Diet and Risk
While there are many risk factors for prostate cancer, one’s diet is the most influential. A diet high in processed carbohydrates, sugars, omega-6 fats, and seared meats can put someone at a significantly higher risk. Further, couple that diet with decreased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, there will likely be a disastrous outcome.
Studies have found that increased consumption or levels of certain compounds are associated with lower risks of prostate cancer, including lycopene, curcumin, isoflavones, vitamin E, and sulforaphane [16-28].
Curcumin, for example, is a plant-based estrogen, like quercetin and genistein, but curcumin is a very weak estrogen. Curcumin can block stronger estrogens from attaching to estrogen receptors, such as estradiol. Curcumin, along with the other compounds listed, have very potent anti-cancer effects, as shown by published evidence.
Perhaps one of the most considerable, significant dietary indicators of one’s risk of prostate cancer is their consumption of omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats oxidize rapidly in the body, which makes these fats generators of free radicals, lipid peroxidation products, and inflammatory compounds [29-31]. Omega-6 fats include oils of corn, peanut, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and canola, and when these oils are heated to high temperatures – which they generally are because they are high-heat oils – they heavily oxidize. To make matters worse, most restaurants reuse these oils repeatedly for weeks, which makes them ultra-inflammatory.
A man’s vitamin D level also seems to moderate his risk of prostate cancer, which may help to explain why prostate cancer is more common in the Northern United States versus the South because, without supplementation and diet, vitamin D is produced through sunlight contact with the skin .
A 2017 study found that low vitamin D status was associated with inflammation in patients with prostate cancer , and a 1997 study found that vitamin D had a profound inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effect on human prostate, breast cancer, and osteosarcoma cell lines .
One study, however, implied vitamin D supplementation was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Strangely, though, researchers in that study gave participants a high dose of calcium, when calcium supplementation is a known risk factor for prostate cancer [35-36]. Truthfully, studies have found high calcium intake, including calcium from dairy products, increases the strength of all cancers [37-38].
Conditions That Increase Risk
Men who are consistently exposed to pesticides, including chlorinated and organochlorine pesticides, have a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer [39-40]. Further, the most common at-home weed killer, glyphosate, poses an increased risk. Glyphosate has been associated with a sharp reduction in sperm counts, increased levels of abnormal sperm, and impaired fertility parameters in animal studies , and because glyphosate is so heavily used, it is found throughout the environment and associated with a vast array of increased cancer and neurological disease risks .
There is also an association between metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
In a 2006 study, researchers followed more than 16,000 men, between the ages of forty and forty-nine, for twenty-seven years. The researchers found that insulin resistance was found to predict prostate cancer during the twenty-seven years of follow-up, indicating an association .
Accordingly, a 2018 study found that insulin resistance was associated with prostate cancer development, progression, and aggressiveness. Further, the study found that independently evaluating changed in glucose metabolism near the time of prostate cancer diagnosis and during long-term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is essential to distinguish their unique contribution to the development of metabolic disturbances .
Diets high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which, to be honest, are most common foods, are shown to induce metabolic syndrome and the disease’s components, which are high blood pressure, obesity, insulin resistance, lipid abnormalities, or any combination [47-48]. This is primarily contributed to HFCS’s ability to induce chronic inflammation .
Therefore, one may ratiocinate that a diet high in omega-6 fats and HFCS would significantly increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer, and since prostate cancer is primarily driven through inflammation, a diet in high in these components would likely prevent someone from being able to contain their cancer and transform it into a highly aggressive and deadly malignancy [50-51].
Because inflammation plays a pivotal role in cancer development, researchers have studied the effect of inflammatory compounds. For example, a 2014 study found that the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) indicates the presence of a very lethal tumor .
The Rise of Chronic Prostate Inflammation
The underlying force behind most cancer is chronic inflammation, especially prostate cancer. Consequentially, someone with a history of prostate inflammation or infection should be particularly considerate of their prostate cancer risk, since persistent prostate inflammation [prostatitis] is a significant factor that is associated with aggressive, advanced prostate cancers that have a higher likelihood of being fatal [53-58]. In point, the increased frequency of prostate inflammation and prostate cancer have reached epidemic magnitudes in developed nations within the last few decades .
Even when prostate infections heal, there can still be inflammation in the prostate gland for up to a year, and in some cases, autoimmune inflammation may result. Further, immune cells and cytokines [immolator compounds from the immune system] within a chronically inflamed prostate can lead to the development of prostate cancer.
Primarily, there are four types of prostatitis: 1) acute bacterial prostatitis; 2) chronic bacterial prostatitis; 3) chronic nonbacterial prostatitis; 4) asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.
The third form, chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, is the most common and comprises of ninety to ninety-five percent of all prostatitis cases. Although the name may note there is no bacteria present, in most cases, there is evidence of infectious organisms in the prostate but not in seminal fluid expelled from the prostate.
These infectious organisms include the following: 1) chlamydia trachomatis; 2) trichomonas vaginalis; 3) Neisseria gonorrhoeae; 4) herpes simplex types 1 and 2; 5) Cytomegalovirus [a type of herpes virus, HHV-5]. Four out of five of these bacteria are STDs.
More interestingly is that a large percentage of prostate cancer samplings contained cytomegalovirus [60-61], which is an organism that prevents cancer cells from dying or being killed [62-63]. Since there are few indicators of this form of prostatitis, doctors will measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or fertility parameters. A high PSA in early life puts a man at a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer over the decades to come since a high PSA measurement indicated inflammation
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) was one of the above-listed infectious organisms and is very common. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in three children are already infected with CMV by age five, and over half of adults by age forty have been infected . CMV stays with a person for life and can either be dormant or active . Additionally, cancer-associated infections commonly contain mutated forms of CMV, which explains why not everyone with CMV will contract cancer.
Viruses such as CMV significantly promote cancer cell reproduction, enhances angiogenesis [new blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to cancerous tumors], and suppresses anti-cancer activity. Moreover, these viruses promote cell signaling in cancer cells, which makes cancer much more deadly and aggressive, and inflammation. In essence, CMV has a fertilizer effect on prostate cancer, making it much worse, invasive, and fatal.
A 2008 study investigated forty prostate glands that have been removed from men due to either minimal prostate cancer or extensive prostate cancer . The researchers identified 174 cytokines, and among them was one called hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). In the prostates that had extensive prostate cancer, HGF levels were 6.57 times higher than usual .
Another study also found that cancers with a high level of the immune-suppressing cytokine IL-10 had a significantly worse prognosis . More interesting is that CMV produces a compound that mimics IL-10, which dramatically increased the invasiveness of potential cancer .
The Relationship Between Breast Cancer and Inflammation
Similar to prostate cancers, breast cancers are commonly associated with elevated levels of sex steroid, such as estradiol, which is a potent form of estrogen. Estradiol’s relationship to breast cancer is comparable to DHT’s relationship with prostate cancer; estradiol in high concentrations can increase the risk of breast cancer through increased inflammation [67-71]. Also, like prostate cancer, food intake, chronic inflammation and infection, lifestyle, and heavy metal toxicity can increase one’s risk of breast cancer.
One of the more interesting relationships is the association between aluminum toxicity and breast cancer. A 2017 study investigated this link . In the study, researchers found that the continuous use of underarm cosmetic products may lead to an accumulation of aluminum in breast tissue, and more than daily use of these products at younger ages may increase the risk of breast cancer .
Further, in a 2013 study, researchers collected and examined nipple aspirant from nineteen breast cancer patients and sixteen control parents [did not have breast cancer] . The scientists found that the cancer patients had a much higher measurement of inflammatory cytokines, indicating oxidative damage, and higher levels of aluminum secretion, confirming that aluminum accumulates in breast tissue and could lead to breast cancer .
Aluminum accumulation causes the same type of inflammation seen in cancer initiation. Besides antiperspirant deodorant, other sources of aluminum include public drinking water, vaccines, many medications, and food dyes.
Traditional Breast Cancer Treatment: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Inflammation is such a robust factor in breast cancer that measurements of specific inflammatory cytokines can carefully determine one’s chance of breast cancer survival.
For example, a 2013 study found that triple-negative breast cancer had the worst forecasted outcome, which is characterized by extremely high levels of two cytokines, IL-6 and IL-8 . The activation of cancer stem cells drives all cancers, and cytokines protect and promote cancer stem cell proliferation .
Paradoxically, contemporary cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, increase bodily inflammation and inflammation in the tumor’s environment. Therefore, if modern cancer treatment is ineffective in controlling cancer, it will promote the rapid growth of cancer stem cells, which is like fertilizing cancer cells. Sadly, this means if these cancer treatments are unsuccessful, the patient dies typically quicker than if no procedure was performed at all.
This has begun to turn scientists’ attention towards infectious diseases, such as CMV, to investigate cancer’s development and invasiveness. Similar to prostate cancer, a large percentage of breast cancer contains CMV, which grows primarily in breast tissue . Further, CMV produces hundreds of proteins which fuel every phase of cancer in a process called oncomodulation [77-78].
In a 2006 study, researchers injected a mouse with one of the CMV proteins, US28, and found that the protein produced a cancerous tumor . Moreover, a 2014 study found that the deadliest type of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, has the highest incidence of CMV proteins .
Research-Supported, Natural Compounds for Prostate and Breast Cancer Treatment
A predominant amount of prostate and breast cancers exhibit benign rather than malignant behaviors, and a large number of cancer cells found in prostate and breast glands will not develop into full-fledged cancers. Instead, most remain contained and harmless.
For example, it is estimated that eighty percent of in situ [on-site] breast cancers will not become deadly. However, most oncologists treat these cancers as if they will progress like malignant tumors and recommend harmful treatments that only make matters worse and decrease survival chance. Yet, in the event the woman with the benign in situ breast cancer is following modern therapy, they will praise the treatment believing it is what saved them.
Remember, chemotherapy and radiation therapy provoke extreme inflammation, which leads to aggressive cancer growth, and this cannot be overstated. Contrary, similar to how things that reduce prostate inflammation reduce the chance of prostate inflammation, things that reduce breast inflammation reduce breast cancer.
The most effective weapons against prostatitis include the following: nanoquercetin, saw palmetto, Pygeum africanum, nettle root, and pumpkin seed oil. These should be used after the treatment of a prostate infection, which is typically treated with antibiotics.
In a 2001 study, researchers noted that nettle root improved urine flow in cases of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), and the effect was more pronounced when combined with saw palmetto .
Various studies have also found that nettle root inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells [82-84].
Further, beta-sitosterol has also been shown to inhibit the mechanisms that convert testosterone into DHT, which would help during prostate cancer . Though some studies found that beta-sitosterol was not effective in shrinking prostate size, the compound did reduce residual bladder urine volume and increase urine flow [86-87]. Additionally, the compound has been shown to promote programmed cell death in human breast cancer cells and inhibit mammary gland tumor production [88-89].
Several studies have found that a combination of beta-sitosterol and resveratrol dramatically restrained breast and prostate cancer growth and invasiveness [90-92].
Boron consumption has also been demonstrated to lower one’s risk of prostate cancer, along with other cancers . For example, in a 2004 study, researchers found a diet high in boron nearly decreased the risk of prostate cancer by 50% . Boron does this by inhibiting cancer cell’s calcium signaling.
Lastly, along with low consumption of omega-6 fats, supplementing the diet with omega-3 fats can increase levels of 2-hydroxyestrone, which is a protective compound [95-96].
We have examined the compound in many articles, but curcumin has exceptional anti-cancer properties. Moreover, curcumin has an advantage over chemotherapy in that curcumin attacks cancer cells in so many ways that the cell becomes overwhelmed and dies, and unlike chemotherapy, curcumin inhibits cancer stem cells, which are ground-zero for cancerous tumors [97-103]. The same effect has been seen in breast cancer stem cells, as well .
However, the largest withholding of curcumin is that it is poorly absorbed. Newer formulas, though, where curcumin is bound to piperine can help to increase absorption.
Newer technology is discovering ways to nanosized curcumin so that it can be maximally absorbed and distributed. Contrary to other curcumin forms, nanosized curcumin can quickly enter cells, including cancer cells [104-109]. A 2011 study found that nanosized curcumin increases the body’s anticancer functions and protects the immune system from tumor inhibition . An excellent dose of nanocurcumin is 12 grams divided over one day, with higher doses having a more significant effect. Since nanocurcumin is water-soluble, it can be easily mixed with water or vegetable juices.
Perhaps one of the worst aspects of cancer is that it can spread through the release of enzymes that destroy adjacent tissue. Of these enzymes, the most essential for the process are metalloproteinase enzymes (MMPs). Correspondingly, a number of natural, plant substances have been shown to inhibit MMPs, such as berberine [110-115], quercetin [116-119], Boswellia , naringenin [121-125], ellagic acid [126-128], curcumin [129-133], and resveratrol [134-139]. These references nowhere near represent the magnitude of studies that have investigated these properties.
Another benefit of curcumin is that it protects healthy cells and tissue from being damaged from chemotherapy, while simultaneously increasing the effectiveness of those treatments [140-142].
In a 2018 study, researchers noted that nanoquercetin also played a cancer-controlling role, synergistically with nanocurcumin . Further, similar to nanocurcumin, nanoquercetin enhances the effectiveness and security of modern cancer treatment [144-145].
Silymarin is the main active ingredient in milk thistle, and silymarin in its nano form has demonstrated to be effective in cancer treatment. In a 2008 study, researchers noted many roles silymarin plays in cancer treatment, including anti-inflammation, growth inhibition, cell life regulation, apoptosis [cancer cell death] induction, inhibition of angiogenesis, and inhibition of invasion and metastasis .
With prostate cancer, silymarin is shown to be especially promising. For example, we have discussed prostate cancer that is dependent on DHT to thrive, but the most dangerous prostate cancer is cancer that can grow and develop without DHT. This type is called androgen-independent prostate cancer and is driven by insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). A 2000 study found that silymarin inhibited the proliferation of androgen-independent prostate cancer cells . Even in DHT-driven prostate cancer, silymarin has been shown to decrease inflammation and suppress DHT receptor function, as noted in a 2007 study .
Nanoboswellia has also demonstrated effectiveness against information and been shown to kill prostate cancer cells and breast cancer cells .
Additionally, each of these compounds has also demonstrated effectiveness against various types of breast cancer, even the most aggressive triple-negative and inflammatory breast cancers [121-123]. Further, several of these compounds have been shown to suppress infections of CMV, and herpes virus type-1 and -2, all of which can play a supporting role in the development of prostate and breast cancers [152-156].
My goal in this article was to give you a well-rounded understanding of prostate and breast cancers. Commonly underlying both cancers are two common denominators: inflammation and hormone imbalance. Having a diet that supports a healthy hormone balance and low inflammation levels if paramount for prevention of these cancers.
Further, modern cancer therapies alone can dramatically increase the change of death from the disease, because if the treatment is not successful in killing cancer, the inflammation the therapy causes can furl the growth of cancer and make the condition more prolific. However, combining natural substances can increase modern therapy’s effectiveness. Finally, many natural elements have shown promise in prostate and breast cancers, including nanocurcumin, nanoquercetin, and nanosilymarin, as noted by research.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.