Cancer and Vitamins...a Good Combination?

Janey Spence
Janey Spence
Dr. Vance Esler, Oncologist
Dr. Vance Esler, Oncologist

Vitamin supplements could interfere with cancer treatments.

NewsChannel 10 spoke with a local breast cancer patient about the new research, and she says she hasn't had any problems but is aware of the risks.

The Journal of Clinical Oncology says cancer patients who hope to strengthen their immune systems with vitamins need to use caution.  Too much of any one vitamin can do more harm than good.

"I was basically told that taking a multivitamin would be ok but because of the chemotherapy sometimes you need to be careful of others," says Janey Spence.

Spence says her doctor has guided her in the right direction and urges others to trust their doctors as well.

"Their the ones that stay with the studies and you just have to trust that they are on top of it and that they're staying up with the studies. Her oncologist Vance Esler typically recommends a multi-vitamin for cancer patients especially if they aren't eating very well," says Janey Spence.

"A typical one a day vitamin is fine but if you want to take high doses of anything you need to know whether or not it will interfere with your chemotherapy," says Dr. Esler.

He also tells us it varies from case to case.

"Research shows for example St. John's Wort causes problems and interferes with the effectiveness of chemotherapy," says Dr. Esler.

A local nutrition sales associate says knowing possible medical complications is an important part of her job.

Lize Case says,"We're looking out for them. We're not looking out for ourselves."

And Janey Spence tells me she will continue to make sure she's doing the right things.

Although cancer treatment can get rid of your appetite Dr. Esler says it's impossible to get "too much" of any vitamin through food alone.