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Oct 20, 2015 11:40 AM EDT

Men with prostate cancer get no benefits from health supplements


A new study suggests that the intake of supplements by men has no effect on the condition of the prostate cancer patients, HealthDay reports.

"We suspected that these pills were junk. Our study confirmed our suspicion," said study lead author Dr. Nicholas Zaorsky, resident physician in radiation oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

For the study, the researchers studied more than 2,200 men who took health supplements and were newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. The patients in this study were aged 36 and older. The participants underwent radiation treatment sometime between 2001 and 2012.

The study revealed that health supplements do not appear to lower radiation treatment side effects, the risk of spread of localized cancer or the mortality rate of the prostate cancer patients.

However, the study pointed that roughly one in two new cancer patients tries some type of dietary supplementation, often without their doctor's knowledge.

"We're talking about pills that are subject to very limited oversight and have never been studied," Zaorsky said.

For this study, the health supplements pills considered by the researchers were the one that were marketed as "men's formula" or "prostate health," often labeled with "clinically proven" or "recommended by urologists" on the bottle, Zaorsky said. Many of the health products also bore the wording "clinically proven," or suggested they had anti-cancer benefits. However, none of the various brand formulations had been studied in a clinical trial.

About 10 percent of the participants were taking one or more of roughly 50 different men's health supplements either during treatment or in the ensuing four years, Zaorsky said.

However, the use of health supplements was not associated with any negative side effects.

The findings were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, in San Antonio. Research presented at meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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