Posted: October 10, 2012

Can vitamins prevent cancer?  The news media were full of the story that a large trial published in JAMA showed that multivitamins reduced cancer risk in middle aged physicians.  The article can be found here.   Dr. Stark has reviewed the article and puts in into perspective.  He says, “This is but one of a large number of trials that show either no benefit, a slight benefit, or a slight detriment to vitamins in cancer prevention.  Interestingly most of the benefit occurred among men who had already had cancer once.  Their risk of getting cancer again was substantially reduced.   There was only a tiny benefit among men who had never had cancer.   This study was well done;  I cannot fault the methodology. However, even the authors admit their results could be suspect because of background vitamin use by everyone, for which they could not adequately control,  and because vitamin ingestion has evolved in the US to newer concepts of what might be helpful.”