Men's Health Supplements Show No Benefit in Prostate Cancer

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Men's health supplements offer no benefit for patients with localized prostate cancer.
Men's health supplements offer no benefit for patients with localized prostate cancer.

Men's health supplements (MHSs) offer no benefit for patients with localized prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held in San Antonio.

Nicholas G. Zaorsky, M.D., from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the impact of MHSs on patient outcomes and associated toxicities among men undergoing intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for localized prostate cancer.

Data were included from a retrospective analysis of patients treated at a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

A total of 2,207 men were treated with IMRT from 2001 to 2012. The researchers found that 10 percent of men used MHSs. MHSs contained a median of three identifiable ingredients, most commonly saw palmetto (91 percent); some ingredient names were unidentifiable.

None of the supplements were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or had been assessed in a published study. At five-year follow-up after IMRT, MHSs were not associated with a lower risk of distant metastasis, cancer-related death, or radiation therapy-associated adverse effects.

RELATED: FDA Gives Green Light to Focused Ultrasound for Ablation of Prostate Cancer

"Many men believe the supplements will help their cancer, or at worst, do nothing, so what's the harm," Zaorsky said in a statement.

"There have been thousands of cases in the United States where supplements have harmed patients, so we urge men to take caution when they walk down grocery store aisles and see bottles of pills labeled 'men's health' or 'prostate health.'"


  1. Zaorsky NG, Churilla TM, Ruth K, et al. Men's Health Supplement Use and Outcomes Among Men Receiving Definitive IMRT for Localized Prostate Cancer. International Journal of Radiation Oncology. November 2015. DOI:

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