Caring for the prostate should not begin when you have an enlarged prostate, but when it’s normal and healthy. Today many researchers are looking for non-invasive ways to control the enlargement of the prostate so that it does not develop into prostate cancer later on. Medical interventions and management are all focused on the cause of the benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), the severity of the obstruction, and the patient’s other conditions. It’s focused on curing a disease not preventing it. Although there is great importance in immediate medical interventions to manage the enlarged prostate so it does not develop into prostate cancer, we must also focus on how we can avoid it.
Today most pharmacologic treatments work around the principle of blocking certain hormones believed to be the root cause of the problem. The use of alpha-adrenergic blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors to minimize the prostate has been medically accepted. Alpha adrenergic blockers are known to relax the smooth muscle of the bladder neck and prostate. This smoothening of the muscle blockade improves urine excretion and relieves benign prostate cancer symptoms.
Because of this, one method of treatment involves hormonal manipulation with anti-androgen agents. In clinical studies, inhibitors such as finasteride have been effective in preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is believed to lead to cell hyperplasia. Decreased levels of DHT lead to decreased glandular cell activity and decreased prostate size.
Saw Palmetto is a supplemental extract used to treat the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BNP), or non-cancerous prostate enlargement. It has pharmacologic effects similar to finasteride and has been used as a preventive measure against prostate cancer. The use of saw palmetto extracts can reduce the size of the prostate. Some medical practitioners, in fact, recommend their patients take 3 tablets of saw palmetto daily to reverse potential prostate enlargement, starting by the age of 30. The active element comes from the fruit of the American palm tree. More and more researchers are proving the efficacy of saw palmetto in comparison to medical drugs such as finasteride. The herbal supplement is certainly much safer with fewer side effects, cheaper than medical drugs, and more natural.
In theory, saw palmetto functions by interfering with the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), leading to decreased glandular cell activity that enlarges the prostate. In addition, saw palmetto may directly block the ability of DHT to stimulate prostate cell growth. It should not be used with finasteride, dutasteride, or any medication containing estrogen.
A new medical intervention is still under clinical trial and research. Many are hoping that it can become another means of treating prostate enlargement. The action of Provenge is similar to the action of a vaccine. Initially, a sample of the patient’s blood is taken. Then cell components in his blood are combined with a weaker prostate cancer strain. Together, with a stimulant, the blood is injected back into his system. The main goal of the vaccine is to trigger a reaction and formation of antibodies that can specifically target and engulf prostate cancer cells. The concept behind the treatment is to elicit a response from the immune system so it will make antibodies. During the process of developing this specific treatment, many researchers recommend that volunteers have 3 vaccinations at 2-week intervals. Unlike chemotherapy and radiation, where the immune system is compromised, Provenge works to produce a stronger immune system to fight disease. Much about Provenge needs further study. The FDA is presently looking into the viability of this treatment.Oncology