Prostate Cancer

Complementary approaches

The men we interviewed had used various complementary approaches - changing their diet, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, massage and relaxation therapies, and using herbal or Chinese medicines. Dietary changes that men said they had made, since diagnosis, included eating less meat and dairy produce, drinking green tea, eating more fruit and vegetables, especially tomatoes and, in one case, consuming quantities of pumpkin seeds.

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Media and internet reports had encouraged men to try changing their diet and to take supplements including selenium, Saw Palmetto and anti-oxidant vitamins.

A large trial has demonstrated no benefit of taking vitamin E or selenium supplements in preventing prostate cancer (SELECT Trial 2008). Pomegranate juice appears to slow down prostate cancer progression after relapse following primary treatments (Phase II Study of Pomegranate Juice for Men with Rising Prostate-Specific Antigen following Surgery or Radiation for Prostate Cancer).

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Some men made great efforts to research the evidence behind recommendations before using any complementary approaches. Aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki were all described by the men as helping them relax. Others thought they had benefited from prayer, meditation and yoga. One man took a Chinese herbal remedy, but he didn't know its name.

Last reviewed January 2014.
Last updated January 2014.

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