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Prostate Cancer, Nutrition, and Dietary Supplements (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Patient Information [NCI] - Overview of CAM Use in Prostate Cancer

Studies of CAM use to treat prostate cancer have shown the following:

  • Men who have prostate cancer are more likely to take dietary supplements than men who do not have prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer patients with the healthiest eating habits (for example, eating lots of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vegetables) are the most likely to take dietary supplements.
  • Popular dietary supplements used by prostate cancer patients include lycopene, vitamin E, selenium, and saw palmetto.
  • Reasons given by prostate cancer patients for using CAM treatments include boosting the immune system, improving quality of life, and lowering the risk of the cancer coming back.

Studies of CAM use to lower the risk of developing prostate cancer or to prevent it from coming back have shown the following:

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  • A study of men with a family history of prostate cancer found that over half used vitamins or other dietary supplements, including those sold for prostate health or cancer prevention such as selenium, green tea, and saw palmetto.
  • A study of men at a prostate cancer screening clinic found that well over half took multivitamins and a smaller number took herbal supplements.
  • A study of prostate cancer survivors found that up to one-third took vitamins or minerals.
  • Although many prostate cancer patients use CAM therapies, only about half of them tell their doctors about their use of CAM.

Studies of why prostate cancer patients do or don't decide to use CAM show that their choice is based on many factors, including their medical history, their beliefs about the safety and side effects of CAM compared to standard treatments, and their need to feel in control of their treatment.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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