On call: Selenium and vitamin E for prostate cancer

On call

Selenium and vitamin E for prostate cancer

Q. I have been taking selenium in the hope that it would prevent me from getting prostate cancer. But I heard on the radio that the National Cancer Institute is advising men to stop taking selenium. Should I stop it?

A. Many of us shared the hope that selenium might reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The optimism stemmed from a 1996 report from the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial, which found that 200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium a day reduced the risk of prostate cancer by a startling 63%. A series of observational studies followed; although the results were mixed, many suggested that selenium might help.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »