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Vitamin E may increase prostate cancer risk, study says
October 11th, 2011
05:20 PM ET

Vitamin E may increase prostate cancer risk, study says

Very high amounts of vitamin E– much higher than what's  in multivitamins–may increase a man's risk for prostate cancer, according to a study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic created the SELECT trial in 2001 to investigate the protective benefits of both selenium and vitamin E for prostate cancer prevention, but found just the opposite: Vitamin E, specifically, caused a significant increase in prostate cancer risk in the study group, while selenium showed no added risk, but also no benefit.

"These were surprising findings in view of all the data that suggested they were beneficial," said Dr. Eric Klein, chairman of Urology at the Cleveland Clinic and the lead author of the study.  And, he said, the numbers were equally surprising.

"For every 1,000 men who took a placebo, there were only 65 new cancers," he said. "For every 1,000 men who took vitamin E, 76 got prostate cancer. That's a statistically significant increase."

A 17% increase in fact - too high to attribute the additional cases merely to chance, he said.

Based on the results of this trial, Klein suggested that men should have a serious conversation with their doctors about whether taking vitamin E supplements is a good idea.

"About half the men who are age 60 or older take vitamin E, and about a quarter take vitamin E at the level that was used in [the trial]: 400 international units or more," he said. "In my opinion, there is no compelling evidence that vitamins are beneficial, and there is some evidence that they can be harmful."

Klein said many multivitamins contain much smaller amounts of vitamin E – around 15 IU – slightly less than the 22 IU of vitamin E per day recommended by the Institute of Medicine.  The people in the study were getting 18 times what is recommended daily.  Klein said it's unclear what effect vitamin E at low doses may have on prostate cancer risk.


soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Joanna

    I think they should worry more about vaccines than supplements......................The Finnish government and major insurance companies announced Wednesday they will pay for lifetime medical care for children diagnosed with narcolepsy after receiving the swine flu vaccine.

    "The compensation will provide much-needed financial assistance for the families, although it cannot take away the emotional distress caused by this condition," Social Services and Health Minister Paula Risikko said in a statement.

    Finnish and international researchers recently found a conclusive link between the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine and new cases of narcolepsy, a chronic nervous system disorder which causes people to often uncontrollably fall asleep.

    October 11, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • source

      why waste all that time to post your story without a source?

      October 11, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
    • Skeptic

      Yes. Unsourced material is little more than fearmongering, not that anyone would do that regarding vaccines.

      October 11, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • Friendly neighborhood Swede

      If someone has narcolepsy in Finnland, how can you tell?

      October 11, 2011 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
    • marty

      strange that no financial or scientific journal I have seen (I get a lot of them) mentions this, while at the same time you make no attributions. I suspect a fabrication.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      I wonder if I need medi.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse |
    • Here's a simple source

      http://news.yahoo.com/finland-vows-care-narcolepsy-kids-had-swine-flu-183019281.html

      Type FINLAND NARCOLEPSY SWINE FLU in any search engine, it's not hard.

      The internet must be new to some of you folks.

      October 11, 2011 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Why do you people always need to be led around by your hand? In this age of google and bing, it took me two seconds on google to find it.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • John

      There are so many other factors to take into consideration with this study. Only 17 more people got cancer. There are so many other factors not listed that could have been the cause for why those 17 got cancer. Vitamin E is great against free radical damage and protecting against Alzheimers; it's also very powerful at controlling muscle spasms associated with brain damage CAUSED by Pharmaceutical drugs: SSRIs, Antipychotics, Sleeping pills, benzodiazepines, etc. The real concern is: Whya re so many people getting cancer in the first place. The answer, the processed food they feed us, the pollution they cause, the pills they force people to take, and the high stress of dealing with all the bull. Don't let these people(big corporations, pharmaceutical companies, etc) run your life or you'll be a slave forever and nothing more.

      October 13, 2011 at 03:26 | Report abuse |
    • Junior Ranger

      Want the REAL TRUTH? Google: "vitamin deadly hoax"

      October 17, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
  2. CJ Topspin

    Sweet...so provided I don't take massive doses of Vit E I should be fine...kinda like not taking massive doeses of ANYTHING tends to be a good thing.

    October 11, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • veritas2

      But if you have a vitamin E deficiency – you only "drip"...:-)

      October 11, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • MORE LIES FROM THE DRUG COMPANIES

      Yay! Here is our weekly 'don't take this natural supplement people have taken for thousands of years but instead take our new drug' article. There is guaranteed one every week. Vitamin E is GREAT for us as are all other vitamins. OBVIOUSLY taking too much of ANYTHING is bad for you. But they are hoping with this smear tactic that one thing sticks in your mind: VITAMIN E = CANCER.

      LIES.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:33 | Report abuse |
    • dfgag

      What they should be focusing on is the fact that supplements are bad for you. The human body is meant to absorb nutrients from foods, and if you have a deficiency, eat more of a certain food. Many vegetables are extremely high in calcium and other nutrients - pretty much something you must eat at every meal.

      October 12, 2011 at 08:23 | Report abuse |
  3. BelliWeather

    400UI is the standard dose sold in most stores, and packaged in capsules. That is definitely not considered a "massive dose"

    October 11, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Carol

    Large amts. of Vit E can also thin your blood.

    October 11, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carl

      Gives me gas too.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
  5. Treatment Gap

    Why would you not include, in a trial such as this, a treatment representing the usual supplemental dose. So you have a supposed increased cancer risk (which is questionable even under a paired t-test). But the increased risk occurs at 25 times the normal supplemental intake? And we're supposed to 're-think' vitamin E now? Nonsense. The trial is weak and non-representative of relevant conditions.

    October 11, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MORE LIES FROM THE DRUG COMPANIES

      Yay! Here is our weekly 'don't take this natural supplement people have taken for thousands of years but instead take our new drug' article. There is guaranteed one every week. Vitamin E is GREAT for us as are all other vitamins. OBVIOUSLY taking too much of ANYTHING is bad for you. But they are hoping with this smear tactic that one thing sticks in your mind: VITAMIN E = CANCER.

      LIES. LIES.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
    • math

      I am confused.... If 1000 men took the placebo and 65 got cancer and 1000 men took vitamin E and 76 got cancer...... The first group had a rate of 6.5% and the second group had a rate of 7.6%...... where is the 17% increase?.... Looks like 1.1% to me!!!!

      October 11, 2011 at 20:14 | Report abuse |
    • math

      It's Obama's fault!!!

      October 11, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Math, here is the breakdown. It is an statistical sigficant increase of 17%. It went from 65 to 76. 11 more cases. 11 is roughly 17% of 65. So an increase of 11 cases would mean a 17% increase.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  6. Terry

    Big Pharma wants us all on drugs. Now another attack on natural supplements. Dr. Klein either got his medical degree through the mail or he is on Big Pharma payroll.

    October 11, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigJockDogg

      great point...2 thumbs up!!

      October 11, 2011 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
  7. Luciana

    I soooo agree about multivitamins
    so many people tryed to push them on me..... but i ONLY EAT my vitamins
    i am 72 and by following my own advices , i am medicine free and in very good health. i can see better now than when i was 22 and i do not take any flu shots ever!!!

    October 11, 2011 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • charlie

      Let me share some news with you – people, especially older people like you, die each year from the flu. Good luck this winter.

      October 11, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • sunney

      Hate to break it to you but many foods like cereal and milk are fortified...with vitamins. You are taking vitamins wether you realize it or not.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
  8. charlie

    The only drug that is completely safe, and has numerous medical uses, is marijuana

    October 11, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • marty

      ever hear of aspirin ?

      October 11, 2011 at 19:24 | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @charlie: not even marijuana is completely safe. If you smoke it, you damage your lungs. If you eat enough of it to get "high," you may take physical risks that you otherwise wouldn't. I terms of safety, it's on a par with alcoholic beverages. Anything drug that induces a "high" is obviously affecting the brain, even if only temporarily. That's never "completely safe." Even if it feels good at the time. That being said, it really should not be illegal to poses or use it. Similar to alcohol.

      October 12, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
  9. charlie

    Have we lost the "drug war" yet? It's been underway since the days of "tricky Dick".

    October 11, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Danny Knows

    Another bogus study using dl-alpha tocopherol, the form of vitamin E manufactured by BASF. It is a 50-50 mixture of the "d" (natural) and "l" (artificial – not found in nature) forms. The "l" form is NOT vitamin E, it is a toxin that blocks the real vitamin E receptors. Therefore taking the mixture is a little bit worse than not taking anything. However, if you take vitamin E extracted naturally from plants (d-alpha tocopherol) you will be happy and healthy and have nothing to worry about. But ask yourself a question, why to all these medical studies include the "l" form when it has been proven many times to be toxic?

    October 11, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LIES

      Big Pharma is running scared because thanks to the internet, we have a wealth of information available to us about all the poisonous drugs we have been taking and their TRUE agenda. Yes, chemical medications have their place. But a person should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go the natural route first. They are DESIGNED for our body. This is all a scare tactic. Take Vitamin E just dont take too much.

      October 11, 2011 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
    • Nita Ruggiero

      I fully agree – why do they make a point to conduct these studies using synthetic forms of Vitamin E when anyone who knows anything about it knows that studies conducted with the natural form consistently produce positive results?

      October 12, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
  11. Eric of Reseda

    "...Klein suggested that men should have a serious conversation with their doctors about whether taking vitamin E supplements is a good idea." AND OF COURSE, talking to your doctor costs money. So this little study by the AMA – the doctors' org – may have just boosted their members incomes! Bravo! Clever use of fear mongering!

    I am NOT a doctor, but I strongly urge that you eat foods with Vitamin E and that if you do take a supplement, avoid "high doses" (whatever that means). Finally, if you have to talk to your doctor about taking a Vitamin supplement, you're an effen moron.

    October 11, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Darlene Buckingham

    Food is always a good source for health – pumpkin oil and seeds help prevent prostate cancer. The best source of health is to do your own research from MANY sources.

    October 11, 2011 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. chewstroke

    Another non-story by CNN. Thanks for being part of the problem.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. SAM MOSSIN

    I'm taking Vitamin E 400 IU for many years and my prostate is doing ok I'm 78 years old and disagree with the Pill Doctors to are truing to discourage people of taking vitamins and supplements, for the benefit of the Big Pharmaceuticals..

    October 11, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. BigJockDogg

    More freggin' propaganda...attacking vitamins and minerals now. Some me an individual who takes such an unusually high dose and for what?! Don't trust the FDA and big pharma. They are in bed together...wanting to continuously dumb us down about things that are natural and safe...at the same time continuously fearing-mongering us from everything from terrorism to global warming...ugh.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. SUPPLEMENTS SAVED MY LIFE AND MY WALLET

    If it were not for seeing a naturopath and doing hours and hours of research myself, my regular doctor would have me on 10 different expensive and dangerous medications at the tune of $400 a month or more.

    I started taking a powerful amino acid that our body needs called TYROSINE. It is a neuro-transmitter and works the same was as an anti-depressant with NO SIDE EFFECTS and is only 12 bucks a bottle at a natural vitamin shop. It truly works!
    Remember, supplements can sometimes take a month or two to kick in, but they are designed for our bodies! THey are MADE from our bodies and are there to make up for an deficiency we have due to an illness. I am NOT one to just believe something randomly. I am very skeptical so either something WORKS FOR ME OR IT DOES NOT.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Bill

    The biggest problem with a study that looks at one vitamin or one type of food is there is no way to control the other 99.9% of what the men ate. Plus, we do not know how many men were obese, had some type of chronic illness, got no exercise, had some type of genetic load, were alcoholics etc. Even if we knew it is not be known what role these factors play. All studies should be duplicated but this costs lot of money.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Reality Hurts

    IT IS A 1.7% INCREASE. NOT A 17% INCREASE. OMG. LEARN TO DO SOME BASIC MATH. IT IS PER 1000 NOT PER 100. THEY ARE EITHER BLATANTLY LYING, OR THESE DOCTORS ARE COMPLETE AND UTTER MORONS.

    "For every 1,000 men who took a placebo, there were only 65 new cancers," he said. "For every 1,000 men who took vitamin E, 76 got prostate cancer. That's a statistically significant increase."

    A 17% increase in fact – too high to attribute the additional cases merely to chance, he said.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ieat

    18 times recommended value. Enough said.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. ?

    What about vitamin R? Vitamin J?

    October 11, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. So 2 + 2 = 5?

    "For every 1,000 men who took a placebo, there were only 65 new cancers," he said. "For every 1,000 men who took vitamin E, 76 got prostate cancer. That's a statistically significant increase. A 17% increase in fact -..."

    A 17% increase? GTFOH. It's an increase 11 one-thousanths. Just how does that translate to a 17% increase? Do they think we forgot how to do math?

    Also, how much vitamin E did the study group take? Is this going to be one of those "cranberries will kill you" studies that has everybody up in the air, until someone figures out how many boxcar loads of cranberries you'd have to down before any harm was done?

    October 11, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • No, it equals 4

      As you asked: 76 – 65 = 11. 11 as a percentage of 65 = 17% (16.92% to be exact).

      October 11, 2011 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • math

      You can't add that way! You have to do the percentage of people that got cancer in each group!!! 6.5% as opposed to 7.6%.... an increase of 1.1%!

      October 11, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
    • No, it equals 4

      It's the difference between "percentage" and "percentage points". Let's take another example. Say you have 10 red apples and 90 green apples. You could say that 10% of your apples are red. Now say we increase the amount of red apples we have by 50% so we now have 15 red apples. Also say we still have a total of 100 apples (5 of the green ones got eaten). So now 15% of our apples are red (15 red and 85 green). What you're doing is looking at that and saying the number of red apples increased by only 5% when in fact it increased by 50%. However, you would be right in saying that the number of red apples we have increased by 5 "percentage points" from 10% to 15%, but the absolute number or red apples still increased by 50% (a 5% increase on 10 apples would only be half an apple). Hope that helps.

      October 11, 2011 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
    • So 2 + 2 = 5?

      If I agreed with you, "No, it equals 4", then we'd both be wrong.

      It is not either 17%.

      076 / .065 = 1.169 It's a difference of ELEVEN THOUSANTHS you dolt, not eleven hundredths .011 expressed as a percentage is 1.1, pure and simple.

      Math and I are right. You, are not. Oh yes, I meant to ask – you're young aren't you?

      October 11, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
    • No, it equals 4

      As I explained above it's the difference between "percentage" and "percentage point". When talking about a percentage increase it it relative to the whatever you're looking at – in this case 65 men. It makes no difference to that percentage increase what the denominator is (i.e. whether you have 100, 1000, or 10,000 men in the study) all you're interested in is how the number 65 changes.

      Here's another example. Mitt Romney is polling at 25%. Let's say he doubles his support (an increase of 100%). How much of the republican primary vote would he now have? Answer 50%. He increased his support by 100% but only increased his polling numbers by 25 percentage points (it would of course be impossible to receive 125% of the primary vote). That's the difference we're arguing about.

      BTW your comment made me smile. I like to still think of myself as young but I imagine my 6 year old nephew would say I'm rather old.

      October 11, 2011 at 21:36 | Report abuse |
    • No, it equals 4

      Should have proof read better. First sentence should read:

      "As I explained above it's the difference between "percentage" and "percentage point". When talking about a percentage increase it is relative to whatever you're looking at – in this case 65 men."

      Obviously I am young enough to rely too heavily on the spell checker!

      October 11, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
    • Someone doesn't understand elementary statistics

      "No, it equals 4" has correctly explained this.

      October 11, 2011 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
  22. BLUW7

    There is an effort "again" by BIG PHARMA to discredit vitamins and alternative methods for curing/treating illnesses . Why is BIG PHARMA putting so much money behind these incomplete studies ? It's because the vitamin and alternative supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry, and they want to acquire it,change the name and prices of these vitamins and supplement and label them as drugs. The mainstream news should be ashamed for putting untruths and half true statements out knowing that it is untrue. Vitamins are or I should say was abundantly there in foods they are made for consumption and health. The foods today have no nutritional value,hardly any vitamins or any thing that will keep people healthy,that's why people are physically tired with health problems because of lack vitamins that should be there. DON'T BE FOOLED BY BOGUS CLAIMS.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Hal

    While a 17% increase is significantly higher, it's still very realistic to believe that by chance this occurred. I wouldn't put any stock into this theory until it's tested at LEAST once more with similar results.

    October 11, 2011 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • math

      Do the math..... it's a 1.1% increase, not 17%!

      October 11, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
    • @ math

      Actually it is a 17% increase.

      October 11, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
    • math

      I'm sorry, but it cannot be 17% increase.... only 7.6% of the men who took vitamin E got cancer..... how can the increase be higher than the total??

      NEW MATH??????

      October 11, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
    • @ math

      Sorry for the double posting – forgot to reply to thread:

      The study doesn't say that 17% of the men got prostate cancer but rather there was a 17% increase in the amount of cancer found. If 65 men in the control group got cancer and 76 men in the Vit E group got cancer then that's an increase of 11 men. 11 as a percentage of 65 is 17% – hence the 17% increase figure reported.

      October 11, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
    • john

      actually it states
      "For every 1,000 men who took a placebo, there were only 65 new cancers," he said. "For every 1,000 men who took vitamin E, 76 got prostate cancer. That's a statistically significant increase."

      the key is new cancers and not specifically prostate cancer like the vitamin e takers. if they can not report actual stats then the study is useless. a better statement would be how many got prostate cancer with the placebo.

      October 12, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • @ john

      The entire study is specifically about prostate cancer, ergo the cancers mentioned in the placebo group are indeed prostate cancers.

      October 12, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  24. Rod C.Venger

    I smell a lawsuit! lol

    October 11, 2011 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. BigJockDogg

    MAINSTREAM news ughhhh....listen to REAL news...the ALTERNATIVE...Alex Jones is a great starting point if you really wanna wake up out of the trance...

    October 11, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. @ math

    The study doesn't say that 17% of the men got prostate cancer but rather there was a 17% increase in the amount of cancer found. If 65 men in the control group got cancer and 76 men in the Vit E group got cancer then that's an increase of 11 men. 11 as a percentage of 65 is 17% – hence the 17% increase figure reported.

    October 11, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Bob

    Other studies in the past have demonstrated a decrease in prostate cancer with taking Vitamin E but they were done using gamma tocopherol Vit E. This article is just part of the FDA's operation to get supplements banned.

    October 11, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Nutritechie

    Why even bother doing a study if you set parameters so that the study can only be an imminent FAILURE? Several VERY WRONG things about this and most vitamin studies.
    1. They use synthetic Isolate imitation vitamin E. Made from petroleum, coal tar, etc.
    2 The body sees all synthetics as toxins to be eliminated and they damage the immune system by being present.
    3 Vitamin E has several necessary forms (tocopherols) and there is absolutely NO benefit from eating only one form of the Vitamin E. For any benefit the body MUST have non synthetic food sourced, Vitamin E with the mixed tocopherols found in natural FOOD.

    Quality Supplementing is NOT about one nutrient. It is about a COMPLEX. No vitamin or mineral exists in food without the accompanying co-factors that are absolutely necessary for the vitamin to work. Every vitamin must have, other things in complex with it to function in the body....things like minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, other vitamins, amino acids, lipids and all sorts of nutrients for a synthesis to occur and for the body to react by breaking out in improved health.

    Why do these so-called "learned scholars" who did this research not know all this? They are either idiots or they are bought and paid for by big pharma in accord with THEIR agenda.

    Use any synthetic vitamin supplement at your own peril. Unfortunately I only know of one company that even makes a 100% food sourced, food matrix vitamin/mineral product.

    October 11, 2011 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. BigJockDogg

    check out Alex Jones at...http://www.infowars.com/

    October 12, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. J-man

    Were it up to me, I would not have published this study as written. Like many of you, I believe
    the author's conclusion to be misleading due to the presentation of the resulting data. I understand that the
    number of cancer cases increased by 11 from an expected 65 based on the control (read placebo) group, thus
    yielding a 17% shift. Although mathematically correct, to me this
    sensational number is not as important as any potential increased risk in contracting cancer
    within the general population – purportedly by ingesting vitamin E. To roughly obtain that value, I took
    the increase of 11 individuals (delta) and divided that number by the entire
    sample population (1,000) which indeed yields the 1.1% shift many of you also came up with. A more accurate value
    I believe would require us to divide the delta (11) by the sample size (1,000) minus the expected value (65)
    or (935) yielding an added risk of 11/935 = 1.18% that the healthy individuals within the test group would have
    of contracting cancer based on this study (any statisticians out there, please check and confirm or correct).
    So What's my conclusion based on the limited information we have?
    Only you and your Doctor can determine what's right for you – as for myself – a 1.18% increase in risk
    will not deter me from taking my vitamin E, as I do not believe that percentage to be statistically significant
    nor likely to exceed the margin of error (note – no sigma value was provided in the CNN article). Moreover, although
    I can't prove it, I can't help but feel that for me, the benefits of vitamin E outweigh the risk.
    I am also impressed by, and appreciate the input of, readers who's comments inspired me to check on whether or not I'm
    using natural or synthetic tocopherols. No mention was made of that in the article and could introduce a
    potentially significant variable into any study of vitamin E.

    October 12, 2011 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. The old numbers game

    The 17% figure is a bit confusing, but that's intentional.

    17% does indeed represent the amount of increase, 65-thousandths to 76-thousandths, but the 11-thousandths difference represents only 1.169% of the 1000 men taking the test.

    This sort of thing is a standard little trick that statisticians use to make their studies seem relevant. They want their efforts to appear worthwhile so they'll look good and be able to continue pulling the wool over peoples' eyes.

    In reality they're only proving that the only sure thing about statistics is that you can "torture numbers long enough and they'll confess to anything."

    October 12, 2011 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Anti-All Extremists

    I've been taking 200 iu's of Vitamin E EVERY OTHER DAY for a few years, because there had previously been some indications that higher doses had potentially harmful effects. Ironically, due I guess to supply and demand, the 200 iu capsules are more expensive than the 400. My dosage is 25% of the dosage used in this study, so to some slight extent, anyway, I feel vindicated by my judgement on this particular issue. My doctor has agreed with my strategy. Sometimes we have to take our best guess on nutritional issues, based on limited available data.

    October 12, 2011 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. erich2112x

    And paranoia can cause heart problems.

    October 12, 2011 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Brian

    Did they study NATURAL vitamin E or the SYNTHETIC version?

    October 12, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sigrid

      Synthetic! See: http://www.realnatural.org/2011/10/13/synthetic-vitamin-e-increases-prostate-cancer/

      October 13, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
  35. Sci1

    I have a question, why not eat the right foods? Unless your doctor tells you that you have a deficiency, why would you need supplements? Supplements are not anymore "natural" than most prescribed medicines. Your body was designed to process food, not supplements.

    October 12, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Carole Schroeder RN PhD

    There are many ways to improve health and boost your immune system through healthy living – not just taking supplements that are sometimes harmful.
    Investigate an anti-cancer, healthy lifestyle. When my husband was diagnosed years ago, we changed our lifestyle radically: a lot of evidence is out there that whole foods, plant based, no processed oils, meat or diary can slow or prevent cancer. This diet floods the body with nutrients that are not available in supplements. Read Campbell's book The China Study, Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, watch the film Forks over Knives, get on the Physicians for Responsible Medicine website, all about diet and cancer. Watch UCSF's Dr. Lustig's video called Sugar is Poison, on You Tube –a mind blower. No wonder cancer rates are skyrocketing. We eat nutrient depleted foods and take heavily advertised supplements.

    Also: anyone concerned about prostate cancer should learn how to avoid carcinogenic toxins in the environment with Organic Consumers website and the great Prevent Cancer Coalition website; read Politics of Cancer Revisited by Dr. Epstein and Dr. Davis' Secret History of the War on Cancer. We hear a lot about supplements that make corporations money, but little about healthy immune systems: not much money in that.
    Try my prostate blog, at http://caroleschroederblog.blogspot.com/.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. robert

    A few years back we had one of those OMG! Throw out your supplaments. They all cause cancer. Later when the proverbial cooler heads re-emerged, the message was everything in moderation, blah, blah, blah. And that's probably closer to the truth.

    Reading these kinds of near-scare studies, brings us back to the statistical if your mother and father had no children, you have 100 per cent chance of having no offsprings.

    Gawd almighty! Did these people work for the Bush administration?

    October 12, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Treatment Gap

    Either CNN botched this article or the researcher misrepresented the findings. The reported 17% increased risk is a fallacy for the whole study population. The actual increased risk, given the results cited, would be around 1.1% for the population as a whole. Why we should somehow re-think vitamin E because a single study reporting a 1.1% 'increase' in cancer risk for people who go out of their way to ingest 18 times the recommended supplemental dose (every day)...... is beyond normal logic. The study appears to be hyped and pushed. Who is doing the hyping and pushing..... I'll leave that to the cynics.

    October 12, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Bob

    For me these type of studies only tend to highlight an ongoing mantra. Pharmaceutical companies want you to believe that nutritional supplements are harmful and that their drugs are harmless. Did you buy into the brainwashing campaign that cholesterol causes heart disease? Your doctor did or maybe he was paid hush money... The pharmaceutical giants have made at least 25 billion off of that scam!
    Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant...a free radical scavenger. Antioxidants prevent disease by neutralizing these radicals that cause cell damage. Antioxidants PREVENT CANCER!!

    Don't be suprised if the next study says vitamin C causes cancer.
    Learn more at http://www.l-argininehearthealth.com/

    October 12, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Michael Petrovich

    Well, maybe someone should have actually run the statistical procedures, or maybe actually taken a statistics class.

    "For every 1,000 men who took a placebo, there were only 65 new cancers," he said. "For every 1,000 men who took vitamin E, 76 got prostate cancer. That's a statistically significant increase." Actually, it is not.

    Using MVPstats:
    Two-Sample Proportion Test

    np1 = 65.0 np2 = 76.0
    n1 = 1,000 n2 = 1,000

    95.00% Exact CI for π1: 0.0505 to 0.0821
    95.00% Exact CI for π2: 0.0603 to 0.0942

    Exact Test for: π1 = π2
    Fisher Exact p-value(two-tailed) = 0.382

    The result of this study, no statistical evidence exists showing a difference between the two groups. The difference between between a 65 and 76, with sample sizes of 1000 may be simply due to chance, or sampling error.

    Should the methodology prove to be sound, one might conclude that for the vitamin E taken, no evidence was found was found to conclude that it affects the risk of prostate cancer.

    These is actually a funny example of the misuse of statistical methods, that I am sure will be referenced in statistics classes around the country.

    October 12, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Btfl

      My grandfather died of lmuieeka. An uncle survived prostate cancer. Another uncle is a survivor of throat cancer. My father and all of his brothers have had melanoma. All, with the exception of my grandfather, had gone through screening and were treated as early as possible. With my grandfather, it appeared that he got it so quickly that it was not treatable for someone of his age.Cancer, regardless of what kind it is, is a terrible thing. They are all equal in my mind.I'm sick to death of the prostate cancer vs. Breast cancer and the complaints that one (breast) gets more PR than the other (prostate). It's not a girls vs. boys cancer. I actually believe that Breast cancer gets more attention than prostate cancer because women don't have prostates, but men have Breast tissue and can get Breast cancer as well. Breast cancer can affect everyone, not just one gender.If you want to accurately compare the attention that girls vs. boys cancers get, you should compare prostate and cervical or ovarian cancers. I expect you will find that prostate cancer gets greater PR than cervical or ovarian cancers.

      March 6, 2012 at 00:21 | Report abuse |
  41. Treatment Gap

    The researcher should weigh in at this point or be considered incapapale of serious scientific investigation. His study was conducted with a bias to begin with (18X treatment with no 1X control), then his conclusions as to statistical significance are not supported by his data. Are you there, Dr. Klein..... chairman of urology in Cleveland? Hello? CNN, you gotta do better next time. What a flop this guy was.

    October 12, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Michael Petrovich

    You can ignore my above comment, because the sample size was not 1000. I had misread the statement. From additional sources, "They gathered data on 35,533 males from 427 study centers in Puerto Rico, Canada and the USA, who were randomized between August 2001 and June 2004." That would be statistically significant.

    October 12, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pritesh

      Just wanted to add as more peolpe read and comment about this, I definitely do not think that any rumored risks to sunscreen outweigh the known benefits. I am sure I get enough vitamin D in general, I am just wary of taking any kind of advice to the extreme. I realize that I am lucky to have caught an oddly-behaving mole early, and that melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer once it progresses beyond the surface of the skin. Some of us are just middle path peolpe who are cautious and aware, but dont' want to become hypochondriacs. I know because I went through a brief phase of hypochondria after my biopsy, and it's a HORRIBLE way to live. It's possible that I should be more cautious than I am, but nobody seems to know just how diligent a person should be. We have a tendency in this culture nowadays to respond to risk by wearing a helmet and kneepads at all times. I admire Deena Kastor for still running and getting so much sun exposure in spite of her many serious instances of skin cancer, while taking all the precautions she reasonably can.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
  43. taylor mines

    my artical won't print

    October 12, 2011 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Vincent Demonbreun

    Maybe a high dose of synthetic Vitamin E is harmfull but I never heard of anyone getting sick or developing cancer on natural foods. Vitamin E is a fat soluable vitamin and the body needs it. What I get here is those with cancer taking high doses of vitamin E supplements without changing anything other dietary needs futhers the risks.

    October 12, 2011 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. John

    There are so many other factors to take into consideration with this study. Only 17 more people got cancer. There are so many other factors not listed that could have been the cause for why those 17 got cancer. Vitamin E is great against free radical damage and protecting against Alzheimers; it's also very powerful at controlling muscle spasms associated with brain damage CAUSED by Pharmaceutical drugs: SSRIs, Antipychotics, Sleeping pills, benzodiazepines, etc. The real concern is: Whya re so many people getting cancer in the first place. The answer, the processed food they feed us, the pollution they cause, the pills they force people to take, and the high stress of dealing with all the bull. Don't let these people(big corporations, pharmaceutical companies, etc) run your life or you'll be a slave forever and nothing more. When Bush was in office, they thought he was going to remove all dietary suppements because they were competing with deadly, toxic pharmaceuticals and surgeries.

    October 13, 2011 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. tamramacri

    New Prostate Study: Vitamin E May Be Harmful for Men http://bit.ly/oUlFzt

    October 13, 2011 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Invalid Results

    It is very disheartening how corrupt people can be. Those that funded the study consisted of 10 pharmaceutical companies– none of which produce/sell even a single nutritional supplement– not even a multivitamin. (Two of them do produce infant formulas, energy drinks ect., but no specific dietary supplements)
    Furthermore the form of vitamin E that was used is the cheapest, most synthetic form available. Tons of research studies comparing what they used (all rac-alpha-tocopherol) to natural d-alpha tocopherol consistently conclude that the latter has significantly more beneficial effects, and the former's beneficial/ potentially harmful effects are in fact controversial.

    October 15, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Christian Kinsler

    Aw, this was a truly quality article. In theory I'd like to write like this too taking time and real effort to make a fantastic article... but what can I say... I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done. My best regards, Jinny.

    December 13, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Prostate turp

    It's so standard that we don't even think about it a lot, nevertheless an excellent night's slumber is often a main cause of quality lifestyle. If you have the bigger prostate related or you might be ...prostate cancer

    January 25, 2012 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. R

    I I suspect that this article is supported by the Pharmaceutical Industry which is directly oppose to the vitamin industry. See you signs this persons paycheck.

    February 14, 2012 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.