Given that one in every six American men is expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, we might anticipate that major research would have been undertaken to prevent its emergence or recurrence. The National Cancer Institute and other research groups neglected prevention research for so many years that today we know remarkably little. Most prostate cancer prevention trials were initiated only within the past five years and will therefore not yield useful data for many years to come. For example, trials of selenium and vitamin E (the SELECT trial); beta-carotene and vitamins C and E (Physicians Health Study II); and the anti-inflammatory drug rofecoxib will not be completed until 2012 or later.
Theories about the prevention of prostate cancer and its recurrence fall into four categories: they are based on dietary factors, vitamins and minerals, medications, and lifestyle changes. Except for the first of these, remarkably few hard data are available to help men make decisions about what to do. Indeed, in relatively few major diseases do anecdotal data and personal opinions so outweigh factual data. The prevention of prostate cancer is a subject that generates far more heat than light.
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