The Annals of Internal Medicine had an interesting editorial about the use of supplements to prevent cancer and other diseases. Click here for the original editorial. There was an interesting response to the editorial. Click here for the response.

Since it is obvious that the experts take such contradictory stances, patients who read the material or who try to sort through the literature may be confused. Advocates have a responsibility to learn as much as they can and to help patients translate what they read. We also need to improve the system so that there are answers to the questions and that information is communicated in a way they can understand.

Some questions that have to be asked. Does something that prevents prostate cancer have a benefit for men who have been diagnosed and vice versa? What level of proof is appropriate? What are the potential side effects? Are side effects more acceptable for men with prostate cancer than they would be for men who have not been diagnosed? Do we have studies that give us the answers to make good decisions? What role does news articles play on the supplements that men take? Does the news media have a responsibility to write more balanced articles or is breaking news without any background acceptable? What can activists do to make a difference? These are just some of the questions that responsible advocates have to consider.

Dick Gillespie, Chairman of the Virginia Prostate Cancer Coalition will be part of a panel with the experts on these issues at a prostate cancer meeting next month. Let’s hope that he an others who have similar opportunities can make a difference for the millions of men and boys who are facing a potential diagnosis of prostate cancer in their lifetime.

There is a program in January that may be helpful for those who have an interest in this area:

The Annie Appleseed Project invites you to its conference on “Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies for Cancer Advocates” aka CAM for Cancer Advocates.

January 10-11, 2008 in West Palm Beach, FL Registration is open, hotel link is up! We’ll have tables for exhibitors, show some DVDs and network. Organic food served. Check out our speakers bios and website links.

All the details can be found at:

We want to help educate advocates, people with cancer, and interested others about the evidence behind CAM. We’ll also be talking about evidence gaps, funding, choices, patients’ stories, opportunities, and much more. Since studies show so many are interested, so few talk to their healthcare practitioners and there is so much evidence, come find out. Bring this information back to your communities, and help answer the questions.

Advocates have a responsibility to educate men about how to evaluate the facts from the hype. First we need to educate ourselves.