Chemotherapy 'may be adversely affected by herbal supplements'

17 August 2011

Patients receiving chemotherapy treatment may be adversely impacting on the effectiveness of the procedure by taking herbal supplements, new research has suggested.

Acai berry, turmeric, garlic, cumin and herbal tea are among the foodstuffs that could negatively impact on the treatment, according to findings from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Illinois.

Commenting on the possible repercussions of the results, which were presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, the study's lead investigator Dr June M McKoy advised patients to "tell their doctors what medications they are taking - including vitamins and supplements".

She added: "What people don't realise is that supplements are more than just vitamins and can counteract medical therapies if not taken appropriately."

However, the increasing effectiveness of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy has resulted in a rise in survival rates - particularly for certain forms of the disease such as breast cancer.

Dr Ian Lewis, associate director of research at Welsh cancer charity Tenovus, argued that a corresponding upturn in levels and standards of support was now needed.

Posted by Philip Bartel


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