Researchers found that selenium does not help prevent a second tumor for people with early-stage (stage I) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Selenium is a substance called a mineral that people get in very small amounts from food and water. Some research suggests that people who have lower levels of selenium in their bodies have a higher risk of cancer, but several studies that look specifically at giving selenium to prevent cancer have not shown that it can prevent cancer. This study is another that shows selenium may not help prevent a second cancer. In fact, the study was stopped early, after about four years, because the patients who were receiving selenium were more likely than patients not taking selenium to develop a new cancer or to have their lung cancer come back.
What this means for patients
“There has been strong evidence suggesting that selenium could decrease the risk of a second primary lung tumor,” said researcher Daniel Karp, MD, Professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “Unfortunately, we couldn't find any evidence that it was effective in doing so. Based on the data, we cannot recommend that patients with lung cancer take selenium to prevent a second primary tumor.”
What to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of lung cancer do I have? What is the stage?
- What is the chance that I will develop a second tumor?
- What can I do to help reduce my risk of a second tumor?
- If I take supplements, what are the possible benefits or risks?
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