Join PER® September 15th for the New York Advanced Practice Collaborative Meeting! Directed toward NP/PAs, this meeting blends presentations on cutting-edge information with panel discussions to enhance learning.

Do Supplements Help Prevent Cancer?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon systematically reviewed the literature addressing the benefit and harms of vitamin and mineral supplements in community-dwelling, nutrient-sufficient adults for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. They reviewed trials and observational studies that had good to high levels of evidence and were published between January 2005 and January 2013. After screening 12,766 abstracts and reviewing 277 full-text articles, they included 103 articles (26 studies) in their analysis.

The study sizes ranged from 128 to 72,337 participants with average ages ranging from 22 to 77 years. Six of the studies were conducted among women only, five were conducted among men only, and the remaining were studies of men and women. The effects of the supplements were examined between 6 months and 16 years; most studies provided less than a decade of follow-up.

Two large trials reported lower cancer incidence in men taking a multivitamin for more than 10 years; however, a study that included women showed no effect of multivitamin intake. High-quality studies of single and paired nutrients (such as vitamins A, C, or D; folic acid; selenium; or calcium) were scant and heterogeneous and showed no evidence of benefit or harm. Neither vitamin E nor β-carotene prevented cancer, and β-carotene increased lung cancer risk in smokers.

Fortmann SP, Burda BU, Senger CA, et al. Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine; published online 11/12/13. Available at

Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
Blog Info
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN is an oncology nursing consultant and editor-in-chief of Oncology Nursing News.
Author Bio
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, is the Editor-in-Chief for OncLive Nursing. She is an oncology nursing consultant and adjunct assistant professor of nursing at Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA. She provides continuing nursing education to nurses across the Unites States, is active in several professional nursing organizations, and is intrigued by the many ways nurses use technology to communicate.
External Resources

MJH Associates
American Journal of Managed Care
MD Magazine
Pharmacy Times
Physicians' Education Resource
Specialty Pharmacy Times
OncNurse Resources

Continuing Education
Web Exclusives

About Us
Advisory Board
Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions
Intellisphere, LLC
2 Clarke Drive
Suite 100
Cranbury, NJ 08512
P: 609-716-7777
F: 609-716-4747

Copyright OncNursing 2006-2018
Intellisphere, LLC. All Rights Reserved.