Cervical Cancer – Deadly Preventable Disease

CANCER of the cervix recognized as Cervical Cancer is the number two killer among women in Malaysia  and is the third highest widespread types of cancer after breast cancer and colorectal cancer. In fact, latest statistics divulge an average, a total of 16 new cases of cervical cancer were reported among 100,000 women in this country.

According to worldwide statistics, every two minutes, a woman dies of cervical cancer.  An estimated 500,000 cancer cases reported each year, with over 80 percent in developing countries. Globally more than 270,000 deaths occur each year from cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is caused by the transmission of persistent infection with an extremely common and contagious virus - the human pappillomavirus (HPV), the same virus that causes genital warts.
It is estimated that up to 50 to 80 per cent of women will acquire a genital HPV infection in their lifetime, and up to 50 per cent of these infections will be potentially cancer-causing. The threat starts from sexual debut, when women begin having sex.

What is Cervical Cancer?

CERVICAL cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the cervix. The cervix is the lowest, narrow end of the uterus and is sometimes called the neck of the womb. It leads to the vagina which leads to the exterior. The cervix holds the developing baby in the uterus during pregnancy. In cervical cancer, the cells in the cervix behave abnormally. They keep growing and turn into a lump or tumour. If untreated, they can spread to other parts of the body through the blood lymph system. Cervical cancer doesn't happen overnight. It goes through a process and takes many years to develop. Although not all pre-cancers will develop into cancer, it must be treated because 15 to 30 per cent of the cases may develop into cancer. Before it develops, early changes take place in the cells on the surface of the cervix. This is called the pre-cancerous stage.

What is Papillomavirus?

THE Human Papillomavirus  (HPV) is a common virus and forms a group of more than 100 related viruses. They are called papillomaviruses because certain types may cause warts, or papillomas, which are benign (non-cancerous) tumours. All types of HPV infection is a pervasive condition that affects and can be transmitted between men and women.

Most HPV infections are comparatively harmless and will clear up on their own through the body's natural immune response within one to two years. Of these about 30 infect the genital areas of women and men. Infection with high-risk types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer and other cancers of the genital area. Although HPV is not the sole cause of cervical cancer, there is no cervical cancer without HPV.

HPV types 16 and 18 account for nearly 70 per cent of cases of cervical cancer while HPV types 6 and 11 cause approximately 90 per cent of genital warts.

These four types of HPV also account for 35 to 50 per cent of all low grade cervical, vaginal and vulva lesions.


* Discomfort or bleeding during sexual intercourse.

* Bleeding between periods.

* Vaginal discharge after menopause.

* Unusual foul bloody mucus vaginal discharge

* Pelvic pain and excessive tiredness.

* Swollen legs and backache.


ALTHOUGH the exact cause is unknown, there are definite factors which place some women at a slightly higher risk.

These are:

* Giving birth to many kids.

* Having many sexual partners.

* Having sexual intercourse at an adolescent age.

* Smoking cigarettes.

* Using oral contraceptive pills in the long term

* Bacterial infection such as syphilis, gonorhoea, Chlamydia or HIV.

* Lack of immune resistance ­ (Ineffective immune system).


You can reduce the risk of suffering from cervical cancer by preventing HPV infection. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease . HPV is spread through sexual contact therefore, the use of condoms can reduce the risk of HPV.

Reduce HPV with

1. Having sex with one partner.

2. Avoid sexual activity at a young age.

3. Do not smoke.

4. Immunised against HPV infection

5. Vaccinations.


Today there are vaccines that can prevent some strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. Girls as young as 13 years are encouraged to take this vaccine. In fact, the younger the vaccine the higher her immune response. This makes the vaccine more effective.  It can prevent up to 70 percent of HPV infection and more effective if given before girls become sexually active. It is also recommended for all women up to age 46 years.

There are currently two types of HPV vaccines available locally: Gardasil by Merck, Sharp & Dohme  (The quadrivalent vaccine against HPV high-risk genotype 16 and 18 and low-risk Type 6 and Type 11 for warts) has been available in Malaysia since October 2006 and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKlines (The bivalent vaccine against HPV high-risk genotype 16 and 18), both of which stay effective for up to about eight years. However, both vaccines offer some cross-protection for Type 31 and Type 45 high-risk genotypes.

At present, the Cervical Cancer Vaccination Programme by the Ministry of Health is giving the immunisation jab for free to all girls in Form 1 and girls currently aged 13. Under its programme, girls between 14 and 19 years who did not qualify for the school programme could receive two doses of the vaccine at RM466 and the third dose free.

Other countries that have national funding of HPV vaccines include Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, girls between 9 and 26 years are given HPV vaccine free of charge.

A course of HPV vaccine consists of three doses on the upper arm administered over six month period. The first injection takes place on the date set in school or at clinics. The second jab is a month later, and the third is six months after the first. Not completing the course makes the vaccine ineffective and a waste of funds.

If a large proportion of males are also vaccinated, herd immunity will develop. There will be less HPV infections, and the risk of women getting infected will also be reduced. Immunising them would not only prevent transmission of the virus but would also keep them protected from genital warts.


Screening is the way how cancer is diagnosed. Women are luckier than men as the two most common cancers in women can be easily detected by a simple test - a mammogram for breast cancer and a pap smear for cervical cancer.

Having the vaccine does not mean a woman can skip regular pap smear tests. The pap smear test picks up any changes in the cells. It is what we call early detection. The vaccination just stops the agent that starts the changes from taking place.

Women should have a pap smear test at least once every three years, beginning about three years after they start to have sexual intercourse. It is safe to wait three years, because cervical cancer usually develops slowly.


Treatment depends on the level of the cancer and how far it spreads. If still at an early stage, womb removal surgery is suggested and a major surgery will be done if the cancer has spread to nearby organs. Other treatment, includes  radiation and chemotherapy.  The usual treatments offered by hospitals are:

Pre-invasive stage (Stage 0 to carcinoma in situ)
When the cancer has affected only the outer layer of the lining of the cervix, treatment may include:

- Laser surgery, which uses a laser beam to destroy abnormal cells.

- Cryosurgery, which destroys cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions by freezing them.

- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure, which uses a thin wire loop (through which an electrical current is passed) to cut away an area of abnormal cells from the cervix.

- Conisation surgery, which removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix.

Invasive stage (Stages 1-4)
When the cancer has penetrated into the cervix and possibly to other tissues and organs, treatment may include:

- Radiation using high-energy rays to shrink tumours by destroying the cancer cells' ability to reproduce.

- Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs which reach all areas of the body to kill cancer cells, including those that have spread to distant organs.

- Hysterectomy can be performed in two ways, depending on the extent of the cancer:

1) Simple hysterectomy which removes the cancer, the cervix and the uterus.

2) Radical hysterectomy which removes the cervix, uterus, part of the vagina and lymph nodes in the area.

Above all, education and awareness is the best and cheaper way to deal with the disease. Parent should educate their children to regulate sexual behaviour with knowledge and moral values . They also need to know the fact that;

* HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer;

* HPV is a sexually transmitted disease;

* practise abstinence to avoid HPV infection from sexual contact;

* pap smear tests can detect early stages of cervical cancer;

* cervical cancer, if detected at an early stage, is curable;

* the vaccine is not a vaccine against cervical cancer but a vaccine against  HPV, which may cause cervical cancer;

* there are 18 types of HPVs linked to cervical cancer but the vaccine protects against only six types;

* there are thousands of cases of serious side effects that are linked to these vaccines;

* you can still get cervical cancer after taking this HPV vaccine; and,

* those who take the vaccination still have to take their yearly pap smear tests for cervical cancer.

Safe Drinking Water: Fact and Fiction

WATER is the most important element in our day-to-day life. The quality of our life depends on it. Unfortunately what we get on our tap is less than perfect. As the world population booms and more people are dumping wastes into water channels, some of it inevitably ends up in our water supply. 

Is our daily consumed water safe to drink? What is in tap water?

Research shows 97% of our tap water comes from rivers, which are connected to drainage and sewage systems, therefore it is no surprise thousands of chemicals are found in water.

So what are the long term effects of consuming these polluted water? The list of illness may include cancers, blood contamination, and unhealthy cells, which slowly breaks down our vital organs, besides clogged heart and arteries.

Consider this. Scientist have found pesticides in water causing abnormalities to animals.

For example, a class of pollutants known as endocrine disruptors affects animals' natural hormones, causing male fishes to develop eggs in their sex organs, and male leopard frogs to develop eggs and ovaries.

Beluga Whales in Canada are reported to have a higher rate of cancer than usual, due to toxic chemicals discharged from rivers.

Rubber Industry in Malaysia

Henry Nicholas Ridley - Father of the Rubber Industry

THE arrival of rubber in Malaya in 1877 - one of the original trees is still in the compound of the Kuala Kangsar District Office - did not immediately meet with great enthusiasm among the planters, who were quite happy growing coffee. The man largely responsible for making Malaysia the largest rubber-producing country in the world is Henry Nicholas Ridley (1855-1956).

His principal contribution was to develop what is still today the basic method for tapping the tree - the herring-bone method, which left V-shaped channels on the trunk, removing only a thin layer bark each time, thus permitting a smooth flow of latex and allowing the bark to regenerate. This was a great improvement on the method which was being used in Brazil and Malaya at the time, which involved slashing the tree or making holes, causing great damage to the cambial layer and consequently to the productivity and life of the tree.

All-New Honda CR-Z - The Hot-Hatch Hybrid

SLEEK, aerodynamic and environmentally friendly, the all-new CR-Z hot-hatch hybrid combines a 6-speed manual gear box matched with Honda’s 1.5L i-VTEC+IMA Hybrid System to give you its best performance in any of its three drive modes: Sport, Normal or ECON.

Exterior Design & Aerodynamics

Stand back and admire the low bonnet, swept-back headlights and the wide angled windscreen designed for better panoramic field of vision. The stylish aerodynamic bullet design directs airflow to reduce drag and improve performance while lowering fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

My Stupid Travel Tips - Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Travel

by Yazid Zul Kepli


First of all, everyone is dying. It is just a matter of time. Deal with it. However, if you are dying in one week, perhaps your decision to spend the little time left with your family is not a bad idea. Perhaps. You will need to put everything in order. People will understand that. It is highly unlikely that you are dying in the near future due to terminal illness though. Most probably, even if you are not in your optimum condition physically, efforts can be made to travel if you wanted to. On the other hand, if your doctor strongly advises you against travelling, your doctor’s word of caution should not be taken lightly.

The BrandLaureate Brand ICON Leadership Awards '11

By Gerald Chuah

OVER the years, awards have been given to brands and corporations, but seldom to leaders who are the driving force behind successful brands. The time has come to honour these illustrious leaders who are in a league of their own.

Asia Pacific Brands Foundation confers on them The BrandLaureate Brand Icon Leadership Awards 2011 to honour Malaysia's Icons who have successfully built their brands.

President of The BrandLaureate Dr KK Johan said: "There are many great leaders in the world today, but very few Icons. "Icons define and set the standards of excellence, are bold enough to take risks and change the course of things for the better. History has shown and proven that these individuals are extraordinary leaders, in a class of their own.

Gateway to Malaysia : Best of Federal Territories - Three Places, Different Attractions

THIS is a tale of three cities - Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya. They are all in different parts of the country, but they have two things in common - same title and same birthday. Kuala Lumpur was the first to be declared as Federal Territory on Feb 1, 1972, followed by Labuan in 1982 and the youngest is Putrajaya in 2001. They are all brightly lit up at night and beautifully landscaped in many parts.


THOUGH the Federal Government administration offices have been moved to her younger sister, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it's fondly referred to, will always have her place of prominence. KL is likely to be the most important city in Malaysia and an increasingly important international city for a long time to come.


Follow the city's heritage trail that will take you back to the very confluence of the two rivers - Gombak and Kelang - that gave KL its name.

Got genius?

By Anushia Kandasivam

A GENIUS is a person that possesses an exceptional ability. This is usually intellectual ability, together with creativity, originality and insight. Nowadays, the most common indicator of genius is a person's IQ - the intelligence quotient, or measure of intellect. But a person may very well be a genius in her own right without possessing an astoundingly high IQ.

There is no precise definition of genius, though there have been many theories over the years of what a genius is. Some researchers believed sensory acuity and reaction time were a measure of neurophysical efficiency, some saw it as a genetic trait - a larger number of close kin with `eminent' qualities may predict a genius.

Do You have the Guts to be Healthy?

By Gerald Chuah

PROBIOTICS are a must if you want to remain healthy. A probiotic is an organism, also known as `friendly' or `healthy' bacteria. A probiotic helps to balance the intestinal tract by killing the unhealthy bacteria. Ideally, the microflora colony in the digestive tract should be made up of 85 percent friendly bacteria to 15 percent harmful bacteria.

Taking a probiotic supplement maintains a healthy intestine by helping our body's naturally occurring gut flora to reestablish themselves, thus preventing illness and disease. It also helps buffer our stomach acid and intestinal bile, increasing the chance of good bacteria surviving.

CSI Malaysian Style

By Aniza Damis

If you have watched the popular television series Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), you will have learnt that if a person even so much as sneezes, spits, urinates or puts his sweaty hands against a wall, he will have left enough evidence for forensic investigators to identify him.

Provided that they can match the left-behind sample with a sample obtained from that person.

The science that takes these seemingly inconsequential discards of human activity and scrutinises them in a forensics laboratory, singling the samples out to one genetic identity is known as DNA profiling.

What You Should Know about Drinking Water

WATER is essential for life. Therefore, a healthy adult needs to consume eight glasses of water daily. The water consumed must be clean and safe.
Natural Mineral Water (NMW) is defined as ground water obtained for human consumption from subterranean water-bearing strata through a spring, well, bore or any other way with or without addition carbon dioxide, for human consumption.
The Source: Only underground water. All natural mineral water must comply to the standard as prescribed in Schedule 26 (Regulation 360A (7)). Food Regulation 1985. Natural mineral water contains various minerals such as Magnesium, Calcium, Fluoride. Sodium, etc.
Packaged Drinking Water (PDW) is treated potable water other than natural mineral water, that is hermetically sealed in bottles or other packages and is intended for human consumption.

The Vandals Must be Kept Out of Our Streets

By Roger Tan

I WAS driving past the Pelangi Utama Apartments in Petaling Jaya two weeks ago when something caught my eye.

It was not this newly completed high-density condominium project but rather a row of young trees along Jalan Masjid PJU 6A opposite the apartments.

Nailed to these trees were posters and other hoardings advertising various goods and services ranging from food catering, sale and leasing of the apartment units, and plumbing services to moneylending.

I also noticed that some of these trees had been damaged with the bark ripped out and long metal nails protruding.

Fortunately, these trees were not the trees in The Lord of The Rings; otherwise they would come alive and exact vengeance on us humans.

Improving Energy Utilisationing

ENERGY efficiency has been a by-word of environmentalists and Malaysian politicians for a while now, though effective promotion has taken a long time. The government is strongly advocating the switch to energy-saving appliances and overall 'green' lifestyles.

Malaysians are slowly coming to terms with the fact that energy cost will increase and adopting energy efficiency must become a way of life and not just a different way of doing things. But is this new idea too slow in taking hold?

Stray or Abused Animals - Rescue, Rehabilitate, Rehome

By Wong Ee Lynn

WHETHER it's rescuing a puppy or giving a donation to these sheltered animals, there's a lot that caring Malaysians can do.

Perhaps you have received e-mails or text messages before from groups or individuals who need to find homes for cats or dogs.

Perhaps you have encountered booths put up by animal rescue groups at public events and in shopping centres to find homes for the formerly stray or abused animals under their care. 

Perhaps you have wondered how these people could devote so much of their time, energy and effort into caring for unwanted animals; whether the animals would ever find homes and what happens to the animals that are not adopted.

Postgraduate and Professional Development - Creating The `Niche' That Is You

EMPLOYERS and employees alike are looking for continuous improvement in their business processes and operational standards as modern management concepts evolve.

MBAs have always been valued by corporations and businesses, as they produce excellent managerial candidates who are able to lead and innovate. It used to be driven by North American business schools, which had made a mark for themselves in the field, churning out graduates that were snapped up even before graduation.

Demand was such that some of the best business schools like INSEAD and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University opened campuses and formed collaborations in Asia to tap into the Eastern market.

Then there was the flexibility, brought about by the Internet and growing partnerships with local universities in Asia that revolutionised the industry and fuelled demand.

Cholestrol - How Low Can You Go?

AS far as cholesterol is concerned, the lower the better.

A HIGH cholesterol level is known to increase one's risk of having a heart attack or stroke. However, in our efforts to lower cholesterol levels, how low should you go?

Consultant cardiologist Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said the lower, the better of the bad cholesterol; especially for people who have other risk factors.

The bad guy here is the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), the type of cholesterol that clogs up your blood vessels.

People at higher risk of heart attacks include those who have already had one, persistent cigarette smokers, people with constant chest pain (angina), those who have had an angioplasty or bypass surgery, and poorly controlled hypertension or diabetes.

Making a Budget and Keeping It

BUDGET is simply a plan on how to spend your money. It's a way to balance the money you have with the money you spend.

You create a plan by making choices. You decide on what you will spend the money on, how much money you want to spend, and how much money you want to save.

Your plan is based on your income and expenses. Since every person's income and expenses vary, your plan needs to fit your situation. Your budget is based on your goals, needs and wants.

Let's take a look at some examples:

Own a Car Food Fine dining
Own a Home Shelter Resort-like bungalow
Get Married Clothing Expensive branded clothes
Set up a business Quality time with family Expensive vacations
Provide good education to children Car/ Motorcycle Luxury car
Retire comfortably Mobile phone Latest full-featured phone
Contribute to charity Computer Most advanced computer
Etc, etc, etc...

A Touch of History - Best of Penang

PEARL of the Orient, Penang needs no further introduction. Ranked as one of Asia's most famous islands, Penang is a fusion between old and new; local and Western; oriental and colonial. The turtle-shaped island is a bustling port, a heritage city and an industrial area. The modern Penang embraces modernity while still holding close her traditions and old-world charm. Come to this obviously charming island of natural beauty, exotic heritage, culture and delightful cuisine.

Explore the heritage trails

Considering her colourful history, evident from the many structures and pre-war buildings still standing strong, the best way to discover Penang is to go on the heritage trail. There are several well-developed trails in and around George Town, with many heritage buildings. Discover the trails either on foot, on a tricycle or a four-wheeler. Some of the must-cover spots are:

Fort Cornwallis

The fort marks the point for Sir Francis Light's historic landing decades ago (i.e,1786). One of the first European structures on the island, Fort Cornwallis is today a privately managed cultural venue. It is fitted with a new ornamental wooden gate and is complete with an observation tower at the main entrance, a history gallery, cannons, and a handicraft and souvenir shop. There is also an open-air amphitheatre, where local music and dance festivals are frequently staged.

Ramadhan and The Choice for Higher Productivity

RAMADHAN, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar is also commonly known as the fasting month. During this month, muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset besides observing other religious do's and don'ts. But Ramadhan is more than just fasting.

It is a holy month where good deeds can earn multiply rewards, and past sins are forgiven. Done right, Ramadhan teaches the virtues of patience, tolerance, compassion, and moderation, among others. It is an opportunity to practise self discipline, to cleanse the body and mind, to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive and forget. And in this sacred month, fasting also helps Muslims to feel at peace. This comes from spiritual devotion, as well as brotherhood with fellow believers and a sense of solidarity with fellow non-Muslims.

Canon EOS 1100D, EOS 600D and EOS 60D SLR - Digital SLR Cameras for Every Need

WHETHER you're an amateur in the mood for quick snaps in between classes or a professional photographer in the making, Canon offers a wide range of choices to choose from.

Canon is a household name, especially when it has to do with cameras, garnering numerous awards and recognition for its products. This year will be the ninth consecutive year that Canon has been awarded the Reader's Digest award in the Best Digital Camera category. It has won the award in both the Gold and Platinum categories in the past years.

Benefits of Acai Berry - Contain the Utmost Antioxidant on Earth

acai berries

HAVE you heard about acai berry fruit? Acai Fruit Berry is a dark purple fruit that comes from the Amazon jungle and recognized as the world's number 1 supplement.

Acai berry is shaped like blueberry and yield twice a year in South America (Amazon). The tree is high and looked as Palm tree (well-known in North America) and if in Malaysia, close to the betel nut trees.

Islamic Banking Terms - What They Mean

THE Al Quran clearly states that Muslims cannot make money on money. Chapter 2, Verses 278 and 279 of the Al Quran are specific:

"O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers. If ye do it not, Take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger: But if ye turn back, ye shall have your capital sums: Deal not unjustly, and ye shall not be dealt with unjustly."

But this does not mean that Islam forbids business activities or making profits. The Prophet Mohammed SAW himself was a trader early in his life.

Islamic law allows business activities for as long as they do not involve interest, also commonly called 'riba', in any form.

10 Most Dangerous Toxins around Us

IT is in the news, and you read about it all the time. The cows are injected with hormones. Meats are dyed red. Poultry is antibiotic tainted. Fruit and vegetables are sprayed with chemicals to look good, keep the pests away and last longer on the shelf.

Dr Mercola listed the ten of the most common toxins found in the United States on his website - www.mercola.com - the most visited alternative site on the planet.

The most dangerous ones are at the top of the list. Read on. It pays to know what could be poisoning you.

Keeping your Prostate Healthy

WHEN it comes to health matters, it seems to me that women are the ones who make the effort to understand and to put them into practice. However, I was proven wrong when a male friend of my sister visited us during the Chinese New Year. He is knowledgeable about his body and in his 40s follows both a healthy diet and lifestyle. His list of health supplements includes saw palmetto and pumpkin seed even though he does not experience the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits beneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the outflow channel for urine). As part of the male reproductive system, this gland secretes seminal fluid during ejaculation to prevent infection in the urethra as well as to energise the sperm to increase the likelihood of conception.

It is believed that after puberty, the testosterone levels begin to drop, leaving an increasing amount of female hormones such as prolactin, estradiol, folliclestimulating hormones and luteinising hormones. These hormones encourage the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent form of testosterone. The result of this increase in DHT is an excessive growth of prostate cells leading to an enlargement of the prostate that constricts the urethra and interferes with normal urinary function.

Due to the hormonal changes that take place, the prostate begins to bulk up significantly. The gland can grow to many times its normal size, and in extreme cases, it can grow as large as a grapefruit. Prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) usually begins after the age of 35. By 50, more than 25 per cent of all men have an enlarged prostate. By 80, the number grows to 80 per cent. Prostate growth might signal cancer and men should opt for annual prostate checks once they are 30 and above. In most cases, the growth is usually non-cancerous.

Symptoms of BPH include a sensation of incomplete emptying of bladder, the frequent urge to urinate, especially at night, or an intermittent, weak stream of urine accompanied by dribbling.

The enlargement of the prostate is an age-related process and adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle early will ensure a healthy prostate. A high cholesterol level is associated with increased risk of prostate disorders. Consider a low cholesterol diet by reducing saturated fats intake and increasing soluble fibre intake such as oat bran, psyllium and pectin. Replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fatty acids found in flaxseed oil, olive oil, evening primrose oil and fish oil. These essential fatty acids have shown significant improvements in enlarged prostate.

The diet should be free as possible from pesticides and other chemicals, since many of these compounds (e.g. dioxin, hexachlorobenzene) can increase the production of DHT levels. Think natural, wholesome and organic.

Ensure that the diet is also antioxidant-rich with beta-carotene, vitamins C, E and the minerals selenium and zinc. These are available in all dark green leafy vegetables, coloured fruits, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, yoghurt, eggs, lean organic meat and seafood.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Serrulata, Serenoa Repens)
Over the last decade, there have been many clinical studies documenting the safety and effectiveness of saw palmetto (Serenoa serrulata) as a treatment for an enlarged prostate. The American Family Physician (March 2003) states that "saw palmetto is a herbal product used in the treatment of symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia. The active component is found in the fruit of the American dwarf palm tree. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of saw palmetto in reducing symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto appears to have an efficacy similar to that of medications like finasteride, but it is better tolerated and less expensive. There are no known drug interactions with saw palmetto, and reported side effects are minor and rare".

Saw palmetto is also combined with other herbs for enhanced benefit. Pumpkin seed is one such herb that has similar effects as saw palmetto largely due to its content rich in essential fatty acids, zinc and plant sterols, namely betasitosterol. Beta-sitosterol has the ability to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase that is responsible for converting the male hormone testosterone to DHT. Inhibiting the conversion of DHT within the body means hindering further the enlargement of the prostate.
Yam Cher Seng, NST

* Yam Cher Seng, a pharmacist actively involved in the dissemination of information on natural healthcare and holistic therapies

NST; Feb 22, 2005; Life & Times; 17