How to Avoid Prostate Biopsies, Self-Treat a Rising PSA, and Keep Cancer Under Control

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD
September 3, 2018


This is the kind of story that makes it all worth it. Bob is a 74-year-old guy who was more or less forced to take things into his own hands. About two years ago, he had a PSA of 8.4 ng/ml. His doctors told him he probably had prostate cancer and needed a biopsy (specifically a 12-core biopsy — more on that in a minute). But Bob has been a newsletter reader of mine for years. And he remembered that in the past I had reported that most prostate cancer biopsies were not needed. So he passed on that. And instead decided to find a doctor who knew how to treat prostate cancer naturally without needing a biopsy. And that’s where he started to have some problems.

In the town he lived in, he couldn’t find a doctor who would work with him. They were all afraid of being ostracized from their colleagues or, worse yet, having the state medical board breathing down their neck for thinking outside the box. So Bob decided to do it on his own and followed my protocol for prostate cancer that he found in the Second Opinion archives. He started taking vitamin D and kept on raising the dose until his blood level was over 70 ng/ml – that came out to 5,000 units per day. He also started taking Advanced Prostate Formula (one tablet, twice daily); Iodoral (12.5 mg, once daily); melatonin (3 mg, once daily); and Complete Daily Oils fish oil (one softgel daily). And then he asked his doctor to check his estradiol level.

Bob’s doctor asked him why estradiol was so important. Bob told him that high estradiol levels feed prostate cancer growth. So his doc ordered the test. And sure enough his level was elevated at 42 pg/ml. Even though 42 was in the so-called normal range (13-55 pg/ml), Bob knew it was too high because I had written that a healthy level of estradiol needs to be less than 1/20th the level of testosterone. And Bob’s testosterone level was 340 pg/ml. For him a healthy level of estradiol would be less than 17. So 42 was way too high. To lower it, he asked his doctor to prescribe anastrozole.

You may have read my reports on anastrozole before. It is a medication that blocks the conversion of testosterone to estradiol. I use it all the time in men whose estradiol levels are too high. The list of side effects from anastrozole when the standard doses are used is significant. But when you use the very small dose that I recommend (½ mg, twice a week), it is entirely safe. There are some natural supplements that can lower estradiol. But most of the time, they don’t work, are much more expensive, and have to be taken three to four times a day. Anastrozole is a much more effective way to treat it. I don’t have any problems at all with using a medication when it’s the best option and the doses are safe. But here’s the problem.

Bob’s doctor would not prescribe the medication. Once again he was afraid. So Bob tried some of the natural estradiol lowerers. And that’s why he called me the other day. None of them worked. But here’s the remarkable thing. Even without correcting his elevated estradiol, Bob had brought his PSA down to 5.1. His doctors had warned him that if he didn’t get the biopsy and the “proper” treatment, he would die from prostate cancer. But here he was two years later with a PSA level that was almost one-half of what it had first been.

Now does this mean that Bob no longer has prostate cancer? No, it does not. But what it does mean is that if he has prostate cancer, it is completely under control. I have told you before that as a disease, cancer is only a problem when it is out of control. Halt the growth of a cancer, and it ceases to be a problem. And that is exactly what Bob had done on his own without any help from the experts. Except for the troubling fact that a lay person knew more about treating prostate cancer than his doctors, I call that a great story. But it’s not the end.

I prescribed Bob the anastrozole he needs and told him to increase the melatonin to 20 mg per day. I also told him to keep checking his PSA every year just in case something changed.

Unfortunately, Bob’s difficulties are not all that uncommon. Conventional doctors are not trained at all in natural therapies.

Unless they go out of their way to learn about other therapies, all they know is drugs, radiation, and surgery. And as medicine gets more and more regulated, things are just going to get worse. Doctors that take insurance will spend even less time than they do now. And they will be even more coerced to follow the party line. That is why people in the know have to keep themselves informed in matters of health just like Bob. Outside of emergencies, you can’t count on your traditional doctor to keep you well. So continue to read Second Opinion every month and other publications as well. It’s up to you to take charge of your health.

Bob’s doctor told him that because his PSA level was high he needed to have a prostate biopsy. That certainly is the standard party line. That’s the one that insurance covers. But that doesn’t mean that it makes sense. The truth is that prostate biopsies are barbaric procedures that are incredibly inaccurate.

Imagine that there was a blood test that indicated that a woman had a likelihood of breast cancer. Then imagine that her doctor tells her that in order to see if she really has breast cancer he needs to stick 12 or more needles into various areas in her breast in order to get samples of the tissue. If any of the samples show cancer, then they have their diagnosis and the procedure was worth it. But what if the doctor were to go on to say that in the event that all the samples showed normal tissue there is still a very substantial chance that she has cancer? So get this. If she doesn’t have breast cancer the procedure was useless and she just had her completely normal breast traumatized by 12 or more needle biopsies for no reason at all. And if she does have breast cancer the diagnosis may very well be missed and was useless because she won’t get any therapy. Does this kind of approach seem modern or sophisticated to you?

Sophisticated or not, that is precisely what prostate biopsies do. They traumatize a man’s prostate gland putting him at risk for infection, bleeding, and spreading of the cancer. And at the same time, there is still a good chance that the biopsy will miss the cancer. How bad is it? A new report will open your eyes quickly.

The authors studied 90 men with proven prostate cancer. All of them had a positive biopsy. And all of them had their prostates surgically removed. Then the researchers took their prostates after the surgery and performed a 12-core prostate biopsy using the same technique that is commonly used in standard biopsies. How often do you suppose the second biopsy missed the diagnosis in this group of proven prostate cases? The answer is an amazing 33%! What did the authors think of that? They said, “The detection rate of prostate cancer with 12-core biopsy in patients (all of whom had prostate cancer) was considerably low. Effectively, repeat biopsies can still be negative despite the patient’s reality of having prostate cancer.”

This is an indictment on prostate biopsies. They completely miss the diagnosis more than 30% of the time. Even repeat biopsies continue to miss it. I predict that there will be a time in the not too distant future when doctors will look back on the days of multi-core prostate biopsies and shudder at the crude, insensitive approach that medicine used to diagnose prostate cancer. So what should you do now?

Every man over the age of 45 including yours truly should have an annual PSA test. Then every year you can plot out your PSA velocity. Do this yourself, men, because there are very few doctors who will do it for you. PSA velocity refers to how fast the PSA rises over time. Any man who sees his PSA velocity going up at a rate greater than 0.15 per year over three consecutive years should be forewarned. There is a good likelihood that he has prostate cancer. Of course if your PSA is greater than 4, there is the likelihood of cancer as well. If either of these scenarios happens, here’s what you do.

First of all, do not get a biopsy for all the reasons mentioned earlier. Instead start on my prostate protocol. It is listed in the archives. This protocol will work about 80% of the time. And you will know if it’s working by what it is doing to your PSA. If your PSA is remaining static or is declining, you have whatever is inflaming your prostate, including a possible cancer, under control. There is no need for any further action other than to check it periodically just like you did before. If your PSA continues to climb in spite of the protocol (this happens about 20% of the time), then you will need the help of someone who is well versed in more aggressive treatments.

If that happens, it might be necessary to have a prostate biopsy in order to determine if surgery or radiation are warranted. Even though it is a crude process, it’s all we have right now. But when all is said and done, about 80% of all prostate biopsies can be avoided by following these common sense measures.


Serefoglu, E.C., S. Altinova, N.S. Ugras, E. Akincioglu, et al. “How reliable is 12-core prostate biopsy procedure in the detection of prostate cancer?” Can Urol Assoc J. 2012 March 2:1-6.


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