A new study has revealed that patients who eat supplements during chemotherapy for breast cancer can be at higher risk of recurrence of cancer and at times death. Experts have said that supplements, which boost the levels of antioxidants, Vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, reduce the effect of chemotherapy. Christie Ambrosone, the chairperson of Cancer Prevention and Control has mentioned that taking these supplements is not safe during chemotherapy of breast cancer. Experts have claimed that antioxidants can interfere with the ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy works on the production of oxidative stress; consumption of antioxidants blocks the oxidative stress and makes it less effective. Health professionals have been advising cancer patients to not take antioxidants during the chemo treatment for many years.
Christine Ambrosone and other experts have observed the data from the cancer prognosis study, which was carried on to a trial to identify the best dose and schedule of chemotherapy. Participants of the study have been asked questions about their lifestyle, routine, diet, and supplement usage at the onset or during the chemo treatment. Around 1134 patients have been followed for a median of 6 years during the research. In this group of participants, the use of supplements was much lower than others. The findings revealed that 20 percent of people have been taking supplements prior to cancer therapy and only 13 percent were on supplements during the treatment. After considering all the other factors for increased risk of cancer recurrence or death, experts found that patients who took supplements at the onset or during the treatment were on 41 percent higher risk of return of their breast cancer. At the same time, they were at a 40 percent increased risk of death during the follow-up.
Supplements like carotenoids, Coenzyme, Q10, and Vitamin A, C, and E as well contribute to the risk of recurrence or death among patients with breast cancer. Patients who have been taking B12 and iron supplants are at greater risk of cancer return. Women who are on B12 supplements are at 83 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer again. They are at a 22 percent higher risk of dying during the follow up as compared to those who are not on supplements. Women patients who take Omega-3 supplements before or during chemotherapy are at 67 percent greater risk of recurrence of cancer. Women who take iron supplements are at 79 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer recurrence. Many studies had shown that iron is responsible to start and promotion of cancer. The new research has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.