Men's Supplements May Not Help Prostate Cancer Patients: Study

As prostate cancer continues to affect about 220,000 American men each year, the sale of products believed to prevent and/or treat this disease remains brisk. Researchers, however, warn that men’s health supplements may not produce the results desired. In fact, in some cases these supplements may do more harm than good.

To arrive at those findings, researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia looked into a number of cases involving localized prostate cancer. All 2,207 men included in the study had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and each received intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) as part of their treatment. Of the men who also happened to take men’s health supplements, such as those containing saw palmetto, there was no evidence of a decreased lower risk of the cancer’s spread. Researchers also found no evidence to support that supplements lowered mortality rates or risks associated with radiation treatment. About 10 percent of the men in the study used supplements during the course of their treatments.

While researchers aren’t saying vitamin supplements are ineffective, they do say the findings indicate that men’s health supplements that reportedly have an impact on the prostate may have no real impact on prostate health. They also caution that some nutritional supplements may have adverse effects on those who take them. With that in mind, they urge men to be careful when selecting products that are labeled as men’s health supplements.

Men who are concerned about prostate health are urged to speak with their healthcare providers. Doctors can help men assess their risks for cancer and may be able to offer advice for limiting the odds of contracting the disease. Medical professionals can also help with early screening protocols for men who are deemed at risk for developing this potentially fatal disease. Regardless, it is important for everyone to clear health supplements with a healthcare provider before adding them into their routine.

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