Prostate cancer for men is a frequently occurring disease, particularly for men over 50. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 6 American men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Some preliminary studies had suggested that dietary supplementation with Vitamin E and Selenium would reduce the likelihood of prostate cancer. Drug companies have even been marketing vitamin pills which include higher levels of Selenium as being prostate protective.
In an effort to evaluate these theories, the U.S. National Cancer Institute in 2001 began a 100 million dollar study involving 35,000 men at over 400 sites around the country. The study was suspended this month after an independent analysis of current data suggested the supplements did not reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
In fact, the data showed there was a slightly higher number of prostate cancers among men taking Vitamin E alone and a slightly higher number of men who developed diabetes among the group taking Selenium alone. Researchers indicated these findings may just have been coincidental. Unfortunately, however, the study revealed no data to support claims that Vitamin E or Selenium reduced the risk of prostate cancer.