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PC-SPES: A cure for prostate cancer

GADSDEN, ALABAMA. PC-SPES is a mixture of eight herbs – seven of them Chinese. It has been used in alternative medicine for some time in the treatment of prostate cancer. Now the results of three clinical trials confirm its effectiveness, not only in decreasing PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels and slowing down progression of the cancer, but also in alleviating pain and improving quality of life. One major trial included 33 patients with androgen-dependent (AD) prostate cancer and 37 patients with androgen-independent (AI) disease (a more severe form). The patients received three capsules of PC-SPES three times a day (BotanicLab, http://www.botaniclab.com). Patients with AD disease saw an average 80 per cent decrease in PSA levels over a 23-week period - two patients experienced a reduction in bone metastasis. All patients experienced loss of libido, impotence and a precipitous fall in testosterone levels. PSA levels also declined in the AI group, but to a somewhat lesser degree (greater than 50 per cent). Another study of patients with AI disease concluded that PC-SPES significantly reduced pain and improved quality of life scores.

Dr. John Pirani of Clinical Urology Associates concludes that PC-SPES is a valid therapy option for prostate cancer. However, it is not entirely benevolent. It can cause nipple tenderness and breast enlargement. If taken in excessive dosages it can cause internal bleeding because of its content of warfarin-like compounds. Medical doctors at the University of Washington warn that PC-SPES should only be taken under the supervision of a physician and dosages in excess of six capsules a day should be avoided.
Pirani, John F. The effects of phytotherapeutic agents on prostate cancer: an overview of recent clinical trials of PC SPES. Urology, Vol. 58, suppl. 2A, August 2001, pp. 36-38
Weinrobe, Mark C. and Bruce Montgomery. Acquired bleeding diathesis in a patient taking PC-SPES. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 345, October 18, 2001, pp. 1213-14 (correspondence)

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