July 19, 2004
More research indicates that the mineral selenium protects men against prostate cancer.
In the largest comparative study thus far, a large group of American doctors were examined and it was demonstrated that the ones who were in the top 20% with the highest content of selenium in their blood had a 48% reduced risk of getting advanced prostate cancer compared to their colleagues with less selenium in their blood.
This reduction correlates well with several other studies in recent years, but the present study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in America is the largest on this subject so far. A total of 586 male doctors who during the course of 13 years were diagnosed with prostate cancer were compared to 577 male doctors who avoided the disease.
Many men get prostate cancer but this does not necessarily result in long-term consequences because the disease is often localized and non-invasive. These mild forms of cancer were apparently not prevented by selenium. Only the risk of advanced cancer was reduced. This indicates that selenium delays the development of the disease rather than prevents it from arising in the first place.
Large studies of the connection between selenium and prostate cancer are on their way. Particularly a large American study (SELECT) which is also designed to bring light to the effect of vitamin E on this disease is anxiously anticipated.
Which results would be found in a similar British study is unclear. Americans get far more selenium through their diet than British people because the American soil is richer in this mineral. Perhaps this is the reason why British men are more exposed to prostate cancer in its aggressive and malignant form.
By: Vitality Council
Li H et al. A prospective study of plasma selenium levels and prostate cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96(9):696-703.