What Next? Prostate Cancer Linked to Multi-Vitamins

Isn’t scientific research grand? Every day they come up with something new and terrifying to worry about! Now, it’s that multi-vitamins might be linked to increased rates of prostate cancer in men. As the daughter of a man who lost his life to prostate cancer 9 years ago on Friday (and, yes, my father took a lot of vitamins), I feel compelled to pass this along:

WASHINGTON — There’s more worrisome news about vitamins: Taking too many may increase men’s risk of dying from prostate cancer.

The study, being published Wednesday, doesn’t settle the issue. But it is the biggest yet to suggest high-dose multivitamins may harm the prostate, and the latest chapter in the confusing quest to tell whether taking various vitamins really helps a variety of conditions or is a waste of money, or worse.

A new study says taking too many vitamins may increase men’s risk of dying from prostate cancer. The study doesn’t settle the issue, but it’s the biggest yet to suggest high-dose multivitamins may harm the prostate.

Government scientists turned to a study tracking the diet and health of almost 300,000 men. About a third reported taking a daily multivitamin, and 5 percent were heavy users, swallowing the pills more than seven times a week.

Within five years of the study’s start, 10,241 men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Some 1,476 had advanced cancer; 179 died.

Heavy multivitamin users were almost twice as likely to get fatal prostate cancer as men who never took the pills, concludes the study in Wednesday’s Journal of the National Cancer Institute. [full text]

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men.

Rest in peace, Dad. You are missed.

2 thoughts on “What Next? Prostate Cancer Linked to Multi-Vitamins

  1. Sorry, I’m not totally convinced. I’m willing to bet this “research” article is geared by big pharma (and/or the AMA) to make supplements look bad and drugs look good. Note all the possible exceptions mentioned in the article. Even when they’re twisting stuff, they’ve still gotta cover their butts for when they later on get busted for lying by way of a more unbiased research effort….

    As for the frequent occurrence of prostate cancer, most prostate cancers are extremely slow moving and a vast majority of men who have it die of something else (heart attack, diabetes, Alzheimer’s…whatever) before the cancer gets ’em. Unfortunately, Ms. Marek’s father happens to be one of the unlucky ones.

    BTW, I’ll be 73 next month and I’ve been taking multivitamins, minerals as well as many other supplements for over 20 years and I credit them with my ability to still work at a job that sends people in their 20’s home exhausted each evening. Don’t believe everything “traditional” medicine tries to tell you….

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lani. I hope, for the sake of all the vitamin-taking men out there, you are right. I can attest to the slow-movingness of prostate cancer — my father had hip/groin pain for years before his doctors thought to test for prostate cancer. It’s best, as always, to be your own “doctor” and research, research, research — then bring your symptoms to someone who you trust and who is not totally bowled over by big pharma or other undue influences.

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