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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Update

Air Date: Week of October 27, 2000

Living On Earth’s Diane Toomey reports that a new study shows Chinese herbs may be effective against prostate cancer.


TOOMEY: PC-Spes is a Chinese herbal remedy that contains, among other things, saw palmetto and chrysanthemum. It's marketed as effective against prostate cancer, and doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, have taken the unusual move of researching this commercial product. They fed PC-Spes to a group of almost three dozen patients and found that more than 80 percent of them showed dramatic improvement in a blood test used to indicate the presence of prostate cancer. This test isn't foolproof, but it is used as a marker to indicate life spans of prostate cancer patients. Since prostate cancer is stimulated by the male hormone testosterone, researchers think the herbs may be combating the disease by mimicking the female hormone estrogen. But doctors caution they don't know how long PC-Spes would work in a patient. That's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.



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