On call: Selenium and vitamin E for prostate cancer

On call

Selenium and vitamin E for prostate cancer

Published: February, 2009

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.

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