Gerald P Murphy masthead


What is SELECT?

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial s a very important research study taking place in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. SELECT is trying to find out if taking selenium and/or vitamin E supplements can prevent prostate cancer. We already have some evidence that selenium and vitamin E may be able to prevent prostate cancer, but we do not know for sure.

SELECT is sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, a government agency. The study is coordinated by a group of researchers known as the Southwest Oncology Group. More than 32,000 men will take part in SELECT.

What are my chances of getting prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer, after skin cancer, among men and the United States and Canada. Men of all Ages, races, and ethnic groups can get prostate cancer.

You are at high risk if:

  • You are age 55 or older
  • You are African-American
  • You have a father or brother with prostate cancer

Why study Selenium and Vitamin E?

Our bodies need selenium and vitamin E. We get selenium in our water and food, especially in seafood, meats, and Brazil nuts. We get vitamin E in a wide range of foods, especially vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, and egg yolks. Selenium and vitamin E are anti-oxidants. It is believed they help control cell damage that can lead to cancer.

Two studies that looked at preventing other cancers suggested that selenium and vitamin E might prevent prostate cancer. In a study in the United States, men who took selenium were less likely to get prostate cancer. In a study in Finland, men who took vitamin E were less likely to get prostate cancer. But neither of these studies focused directly on prostate cancer. SELECT was the first study to look directly at the effects of selenium and/or vitamin E on the risk of prostate cancer.

What can we learn from the results of SELECT?

Click here to read how Murphy Cancer Foundation researchers interpret the SELECT trial results.