Men with family history of prostate cancer accurately predict higher risk, UMHS study finds

and alternative medicines. The men were asked about all CAM use and specifically about vitamins and supplements linked to prostate health.

The men surveyed were more concerned about lifetime risk of prostate cancer than their short-term risk of developing the disease in the next 10 years. Younger brothers of men with prostate cancer estimated their risk higher than did older brothers. Younger brothers were also nearly four times more likely to report using complementary or alternative medicine associated with prostate health.

"The men who had an older brother with prostate cancer thought they were more at risk, but in reality the older brothers of men with prostate cancer are more at risk. The risk of prostate cancer increases dramatically with age, with 70 percent of cases diagnosed after age 65," says Wood, a member of the Michigan Urology Center at UMHS.

CAM use was higher among men who expressed more concern about being diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. About 69 percent of men surveyed reported using CAM's at some point and 55 percent said they currently took at least one vitamin or supplement.

Almost 30 percent of all men surveyed said they used vitamins and supplements associated with prostate health or possible cancer preventative properties, including beta carotene, finasteride, flaxseed oil, green tea, magnesium, male hormones, saw palmetto, selenium, soy, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. The most commonly used CAMs were saw palmetto, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc.

"There is evidence to suggest that the CAMs specifically mentioned in our paper may reduce risk of prostate cancer. However, we cannot say with any certainty that use of any of these CAMs will ultimately prevent prostate cancer since many of these agents have not been tested in formal clinical trials," says lead author Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer, M.P.H., Ph.D., a research fellow in the Department of Urology at the U-M Comprehen

Contact: Nicole Fawcett
University of Michigan Health System

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