Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial Opens
by Eula Jones
Healthy men age 55 and older are needed for the largest-ever prostate
cancer prevention study, launched by the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) and a network of researchers known as the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT, will determine if these two dietary supplements can protect against
prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer, after skin cancer, in men. The study will include a total of 32,400 men. More than 400 sites in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada are recruiting participants for SELECT, which will take up to 12 years to complete. SELECT is the first study designed to look specifically at the effects of vitamin E and selenium in preventing prostate cancer. Selenium and vitamin E, both naturally occurring nutrients, are antioxidants capable of neutralizing toxins known as "free radicals" that might otherwise damage the genetic material of cells and possibly lead to cancer. Previous research with vitamin E and selenium suggested that these nutrients might prevent prostate cancer. During this year alone, prostate cancer will be diagnosed in about 198,100 Americans and more than 31,500 men are
expected to die of the disease. Risk factors for the disease include being over age 55, being black, or having a father or brother with prostate cancer. African-American men, age 50 and up are encouraged to join this trial, since they have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world and tend to get this disease at an earlier age.
For more information about SELECT and a list of participating centers: In the United States (including Puerto Rico), call the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) for information in English or Spanish. The number for callers with TTY equipment is 1-800-332-8615. In Canada, call the Canadian Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 for information in English or French. Visit NCI's Web site at http://cancer.gov/select