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High Doses Of Vitamin E Linked To Increased Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Aired 10/12/11 on KPBS News.

High doses of vitamin E may be harmful to men's health. A new study finds daily use of vitamin E supplements increases the risk of prostate cancer.

— A new nationwide study finds high daily doses of vitamin E are linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. The research involved more than 35,000 men ages 50 and older.

The study compared men who took 400 international units of vitamin E daily, with those who took a placebo. Men who took the supplements had a 17 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

UC San Diego urologist Kellogg Parsons co-wrote the study. He said this doesn't mean vitamin E causes prostate cancer.

"All we have at this point is evidence to point to the fact that if men take this dose," Dr. Parsons said, "and are followed for seven years, they have a more likely chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. And the reasons for that observation are currently under study,"

Parsons said it appears that large doses of vitamin E don't prevent prostate cancer, and may actually be harmful.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind skin cancer. The National Institutes of Health estimates there will be more than 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States this year.

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