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Popular med may reduce prostate cancer

October 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The latest research on vitamin D and selenium brings up some surprising findings. And millions of men take cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins to help their heart health, but a new study suggests it may also protect a man's prostate.Before 47-year-old Michael Luther started on Lipitor, his cholesterol was all over the chart.

"My cholesterol kept rising and it went up into the 400 range," said Luther.

He's been on statin drugs for 12 years, now he's learned it might have another benefit. Duke University researchers say it may help protect against prostate cancer.

Other research has suggested this.

Several well designed epidemiologic studies did demonstrate that there was a reduction in the more advanced prostate cancers compared to the men who were not using statins.

The theory: a reduction in cholesterol prevents a testosterone production linked to prostate cancer.

"Cholesterol is an important backbone molecule for the production of testosterone we all know that testosterone is a fuel to the fire and proliferation of cancer cells," said Dr. Bagdasarian.

Dr. Bagdasarian says there isn't enough evidence to suggest all men take statin drugs. But for those who are taking it for heart health there might be an added benefit.

"One medication that could take care of two different things would be really exciting," said Luther.

Other news not so exciting: the results of the largest cancer prevention trial of it's kind. In the select trial, researchers wanted to know if vitamin E and selenium helped prevent prostate cancer.

"After five years there was no evidence of the improvement or reduction in incidence of prostate cancer," said Dr. Bagdasarian.

The best advice: maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetable, exercise regularly and get annual physicals and PSA screenings.

"That's one of the leading causes of cancers in men, and I would like to deter that as I age," said Dr. Bagdasarian.

The vitamin E and selenium trial enlisted 35,000 men. The Duke University study reviewed the records 1,200 men.

It did show statin drugs also reduced PSA levels an average of four percent, but researchers say that may have little bearing on cancer risk.


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