There can be risks from supplements and herbal remedies used for prostate cancer

Experts urge men to be cautious of employing natural remedies instead of medicine therapy.

It is never easy for men to cope with prostate cancer. Some find that established treatments are not all that effective, leading them to try other “more natural methods” for the treatment of the cancer. Men are cautioned, however, to talk to their doctors before taking new herbs or supplements.

It has been estimated that 33% of men in America who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer try at least one form of alternative/complementary medicine therapy which includes supplements and herbs. There are some studies that have suggested that the use of certain herbs and supplements might actually be beneficial to prostate cancer treatment and support. However, many doctors are concerned that certain herbs mixed with certain supplements can cause unwanted interactions. There have also been cases where herbs and supplements have reacted negatively with prescribed medications.

St. John’s wort is one example. It can affect the liver and can act on certain enzymes in the liver which metabolize drugs.

Many men have taken saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Others have tried melatonin supplements in the hopes that it will slow the progression of prostate cancer. Both saw palmetto and melatonin may increase a man’s risk of bleeding when taken with other drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, anticoagulants, or antiplatelet medications.

It has not been proven that any herbs or supplements actually protect against prostate cancer or slow its growth. Some think that the inverse may actually be true.

What’s the bottom line? Unfortunately herbs and supplements are not miracle workers. “Some” may benefit “some men” with prostate disease. To be safe, all men should consult with their doctor about whether the physician supports any alternative choice of treatment, management, and prevention.

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