A better way to detect prostate cancer
For many years, the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test was considered a lifesaver. However, new research suggests that widespread testing does not necessarily improve prostate cancer outcomes.
First, the PSA test does not measure prostate cancer aggressiveness. Many prostate cancers grow slowly and may never pose a threat to life or health. Still, a relatively benign cancer can mutate into a more aggressive form over time, particularly if exposed to high oxidative stress, environmental toxins, heavy metals and an abnormal hormonal profile, including a high estrogen-to-testosterone ratio.
Furthermore, the PSA test may not reveal the early development of aggressive cancers. In other words, the test may be too quick to detect slow-moving cancers and too slow to detect aggressive ones. So the level of PSA may not actually reflect the extent of disease and can sometimes be misleadingly low.
This does not mean that the PSA test lacks clinical significance. Rather, it means that the test must be taken in context with complementary diagnostics, patient history and the nature of prostate specific antigen test results.
For example, clinicians should understand the variability of the test. PSA results can be influenced by medications, seasonal variations, time of the day the test is performed, recent sexual activity, and very important: the size of the prostate. It is also critical to repeat tests at the same time of day and with the same laboratory, as methods for detecting PSA vary from one lab to another and can’t be compared.
There are many other diagnostics that can provide greater context for prostate health. One of these is the galectin-3 test.
Galectin-3: A new test for prostate health
Galectin-3 is a protein produced in the body, and is now known as an important biomarker and active driver of many chronic diseases. When present at normal levels, galectin-3 helps regulate cellular growth and cell-to-cell communication. However, elevated galectin-3 levels fuel inflammation, fibrosis, tumor growth and metastasis and suppress immunity.
Because galectin-3 aggressively fuels chronic inflammation, it can serve as an active marker for prostatitis and BPH. These conditions reduce quality of life and also put patients at greater risk for cancer.
A study published in 2009 in The American Journal of Pathology showed that reducing levels of galectin-3 inhibited prostate cancer metastasis. And a 2013 study in Oncotarget reported galectin-3 to be a useful test for measuring prostate cancer risk and progression, alongside the PSA test. The researchers reported that prostate cancer patients had elevated levels of galectin-3 in the circulation.
In 2011, the FDA approved the galectin-3 blood test for assessing cardiovascular health. Today, an increasing number of integrative physicians are also relying on this simple test as an accurate way to measure the risk and progression of prostate and other cancers.
But what can we do to promote healthy Gal-3 expression in the body?
The most-researched Galectin-3 Inhibitor
Modified Citrus Pectin is currently gaining increased recognition in the scientific literature because it is the most-researched galectin-3 blocker, now shown in numerous peer-reviewed studies to bind and block excess galectin-3. Because of this unique ability, MCP is shown to be effective against the devastating damage caused by galectin-3. Furthermore, MCP is also shown in clinical studies to help reduce PSA. For more information about Modified Citrus Pectin, I recommend the book New Twist on Health, by health writer Karolyn Gazella.
Reducing inflammation of the prostate is an essential component of strategic prostate cancer treatment as it reduces the risk for mutations into a more aggressive cancer, and reduces the risk of metastasis. My feeling is that the PSA test has its use in the context of a more complete evaluation, including the galectin-3 test. For further reading on prostate health, download a copy of my free prostate health wellness guide here.