Some Prostate Cancer Patients Prefer Watchful Waiting

By Joe Torres
(New York-WABC, June 11, 2003) — There are different types of treatment for prostate cancer — and not all patients choose traditional methods. We spoke with one man taking a very different approach.

Victor Wright, Prostate Cancer Patient: “I wanted to die, it was the worse day of my life…the darkest day of my life. I just couldn’t understand how a person, as I thought I had taken such good care of myself, had always been so health oriented, could have such a horrible and dreaded disease.”

Fifty-five year-old Victor Wright has been living with prostate cancer for two and half years.

But instead of trying one of the more conventional treatments, he is taking a more controversial approach: watching and waiting — and using diet to help battle the disease.

He also attends the prostate cancer group male care.

Victor Wright: “Doctors and even people in my support group don’t necessarily support at my age the fact that I’m doing what I’m doing. But I’m more concerned about the quality of my years than the quantity of my years.”

Dr. Isamettin Aral, Chairman of Radiation Oncology, Lutheran Medical Center: “When we talk watchful waiting, what you’re really doing is acknowledging that you have a disease process occuring within your body and you’re really gonna monitor it to see if it gets worse.”

Dr. Isamettin Aral says the approach is not for most patients.

Dr. Isamettin Aral: “The perfect man for me for watchful waiting is somebody who has an exacting idea as to what their life expectancy is. Potentially, very old patients or patients who have other medical conditions that might make their longevity compromised.”

We first met Victor a year ago, when he showed us some of the foods that make up his diet. It consists of mainly fruits, vegetables, tofu, seafood, and water. A diet he believes makes all the difference in his psa levels.

Victor Wright: “I’m taking what I call an educated, calculated, risk. I look at my numbers after my diet, in six months, I have dropped my PSA from 9.2 to 3.7. So that to me was an indicator that the diet does work.”

Victor says he’ll start conventional treatment if his numbers begin to change. But Dr. Aral says he’s skeptical that victor’s diet is responsible for his lowered PSA.

Dr. Isamettin Aral: “I’m not convinced that those are effective treatments for prostate cancer. They’re probably better used as a preventive measure before one is diagnosed.”

But for now, Victor’s prognosis seems good. He says it’s the fight of his life, and he’s taking his battle one day at a time.

Victor Wright: “I’m not concerned about ten years from now. I’m more concerned about tomorrow and the day after that, and if I win today, then I have a chance of winning tomorrow.”