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Smart Care&Choice print

Smart Care, Smart Choice : Prostate Cancer

The Emperor’s Cancer, the Most Common Cancer Among Men

Recently it was all over the news that Warren Buffet, one of the world's richest man and investment genius, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Many world-renowned politicians and CEOs including South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, France’s Francois Mitterrand, China’s Deng Xiaoping and Actor Robert de Niro suffered from this cancer. That is why prostate cancer is often called “the cancer of emperors”. These days however, with an aging population, this cancer is commonly found not just in emperors but in ordinary men. There are 40 million prostate cancer patients in the world and the number of prostate cancer patients has increased 7 fold over the last ten years.
The prostate is a walnut sized gland in the male reproductive system just below the bladder that supplies fluid to sperms. Men over the age of 50 can develop prostate cancer as the prostate enlarges. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the U.S. and is second to lung cancer among cancers in men around the world.
Men in western counties have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer in their 50s due to aging, their ethnicity and family history. Besides genetic causes, hormones, eating habits and chemicals such as weedicide are known to cause the cancer.
Prostate cancer is easily diagnosed with a simple blood test and a digital rectal examination. As the cancer can be cured when diagnosed early, men over 50 are recommended to get tested.

Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Get Treated in Korea at 1/3 of the Price vs. the U.S.

Prostate cancer has no symptoms in its early stage, but when the tumor becomes large, it puts pressure on the urethra causing urination difficulties, frequent urination and hematuria. A severe pain may also be felt should the cancer cells spread to the bones. Surgery and radiation therapy are used to treat the cancer. As surgery can have side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunctions, most patients prefer radiation therapy though it is not free from side effects.
The recently developed proton therapy has far fewer side effects compared to other external beam radiotherapies. Radiation kills both normal and cancer cells while protons can target cancer cells only. Only 40 institutions in the world have proton therapy equipment, and Korea’s National Cancer Center is one such institution. The therapy is highly efficient in treating the cancer but it can also be very expensive. However, proton therapy is available in Korea at 1/3 of the price of having the treatment in the U.S. As a result, many patients from abroad visit Korea to get treated.

Prostate Cancer Cured After Two Months of Radiation Therapy

Mr. Vladimir (aged 59) is a professor at a Russian university. He visited a medical clinic due to his frequent urination which made daily life difficult. He couldn’t get into a deep sleep at night due to increased urination and he had to urinate frequently during lectures and meetings. He thought that it was a minor problem caused by the foods he ate or his lifestyle. However, he was shocked when he found out he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Mr. Vladimir looked into hospitals in Russia and other countries to seek treatment and he learned that Korean hospitals had excellent facilities and sophisticated medical techniques. He came to Korea to get treatment at the Korea University Anam Hospital. Doctors at the hospital, after conducting an MRI and body scan, said that his cancer has not yet spread to the bones or lymph nodes. As Mr. Vladimir’s condition could be cured with radiotherapy instead of surgery, he received 34 rounds of radiotherapy from July to September, 2010. He went back to Russia and wrote a thank-you mail for the hospital’s excellent medical techniques and kind staff.
Six months later, Mr. Vladimir had an examination in Russia and found that his Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was maintained at a level of 0.7 without the help of drugs. He now has returned to his university as a professor delivering lectures and performing research activities. He appreciates the Korean medical staff saying, “If anything else goes wrong with my health, I will come back to Korea again.”

Korea University Anam Hospital International Health Care Center

The International Health Care Center is conveniently located in the lobby of the Korea University Anam Hospital. The hospital established an administrative system customized for international patients with dedicated staff members. The hospital’s website offers information about the hospital in four languages. It has received the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation and certification in 2009 and works in partnership with the Nigerian Embassy, Kazakhstan National Emergency Medical Center and the National University of Mongolia.
Tel : +82-2-920-5677

Korea, the Best Choice of Your Life for Proton Therapy

Douglas Atherley (aged 63, U.S.) was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago in the U.S. After a lot of research and agony, he decided to go on proton therapy based on the conclusion that his quality of life would be better than other treatments including surgery. However, there was an obstacle preventing him from receiving therapy in his home country.
He said, “I wanted to get the therapy at home but it was too expensive and I had to wait for a long time to get the therapy. So I looked into other countries.” One day, he learned that he could get the treatment at the National Cancer Center in Korea. He recalls that it was the best choice he has ever made in his entire life.
Mr. Atherley visited the National Cancer Center in November 2010 and received 39 rounds of proton beam therapy for about two months. His PSA level continuously reduced and his cancer was cured after 9 months.
He recently came back to Korea with his family. He was among thirteen international patients who had received impressive cancer treatments in Korea. And they came back with their family members to visit Korea again on June 30. Besides Mr. Atherley, other patients from South Africa, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden also visited Korea.

National Cancer Center’s Proton Therapy Center

The National Cancer Center is a government-led medical institution specialized in researching and treating various types of cancers. NCC is the only place in Korea where proton therapy is available. The center has both a Tomotherapy and a Proton therapy facility. Patients will be assisted by coordinators and nurses, specially dedicated to international patients, during their stay. NCC offers a very satisfactory service. For example, patients who received treatment at NCC visit Korea again.
Tel : +82-31-920-1907

Tomato and Soy Bean Paste, Good for Preventing Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is found more often in western countries than in Asian counties because of western eating habits. To prevent prostate cancer men should be encouraged to consume less fat and meat and more green vegetables, tomatoes and beans.
Among such foods, tomato is the best food for preventing prostate cancer. Lycopene in tomatoes improves damaged DNAs in the prostate and blocks blood from flowing to prostate cancer cells, thus preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells. Men who consume 10 cups or more of tomato juice for 6 years have a 45% less chance of developing prostate cancer. Lycopene is also found in red colored fruits such as grapefruits and water melon, but tomatoes have the highest concentration of lycopene.
In addition, beans can substitute meats as they have protein with rich essential amino acid. Isoflavone, genistein and saponin in beans help prevent the development of cancer. Doenjang, Korean fermented soy bean paste, is an anti-cancer food and plastic-wrapped doenjang is easily available at grocery stores or the grocery section of department stores.