Help to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in American men, second only to skin cancer. Each year, about 200,000 men are diagnosed with the disease and 31,000 die. While regular screening has helped reduce the number of deaths, doctors say more is needed. Now, researchers are looking for men to help as part of a nationwide study.

You might say Dan Feeney is one in about 32,000. That is because Feeney is one of 32,400 men in a nationwide study looking for a way to prevent prostate cancer.

He says, “It seemed like a very easy thing to do. There’s nothing else I can really do to help it.”

Feeney lives a healthy lifestyle. He eats right and exercises regularly. “I met my wife roller blading five years ago,” he says.

Now he takes an additional step with selenium and vitamin E.

Urologist Eric Klein, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, says, “This is the largest, best-designed trial looking at nutrient supplements, not pharmaceuticals but nutrient supplements, that are found in the diet, to prevent the most common cancer in the United States.”

Dr. Klein heads the SELECT trial at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Patients are given either vitamin E, selenium, both or placebos. The trial is based on previous studies, with different goals. One was for skin cancer.

“The incidence of prostate cancer was markedly reduced for men who took selenium,” says Dr. Klein.

As for vitamin E, that idea came from a lung cancer study that found a 40-percent reduction in prostate cancer in men taking the supplement.

Dr. Klein says, “We have to do the right kind of study with the right kind of scientific controls before we can conclude that these two agents are useful in preventing cancer.”

Feeney hopes to roll through the study without any problems, but if nothing else … “Make sure that I get regular check-ups for one thing, just for my own self,” he says.

The study will follow patients for a period of 7 to 12 years. It is being conducted at 400 centers around the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. White men must be 55 or older to participate and black men 50 years or older.

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