Use of complementary and alternative medicine in men with family history of prostate cancer: a pilot study

Urology. 2004 Feb;63(2):282-7. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2003.09.036.


Objectives: To describe the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) among men with a family history of prostate cancer and to evaluate the relationship between selected sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics and the use of CAMs.

Methods: Unaffected brothers of men diagnosed with prostate cancer were asked to participate in a short computer-assisted telephone interview. The survey focused primarily on the use of different vitamins, herbal supplements, and medications, some of which are marketed for prostate health or prostate cancer prevention.

Results: A total of 111 men completed the survey, representing 66% of eligible study subjects. Of the 111 men, 61 (55%) reported currently taking some form of CAM, with 30% taking a vitamin or supplement purported to have prostate-specific benefits. The prevalence of CAM use generally increased with increasing age; however, men who were younger than their affected brother at the time of the diagnosis of prostate cancer were more likely to use CAMs than were older brothers.

Conclusions: Most men with a family history of prostate cancer take vitamins and supplements, some of which are believed to prevent future cancer occurrence. The results of this study and others provide some insight into the determinants of potentially beneficial health behaviors in high-risk individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / prevention & control
  • Adenocarcinoma / psychology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Health*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Phytotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Self Medication / statistics & numerical data*
  • Siblings / psychology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Telephone
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Plant Preparations
  • Vitamins