Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy--a treatment using toxic shemicals to destroy cancerous tissue--can also damage non-cancerous tissue. The body defends itself by producing white blood cells (WBCs) which are part of the immune system. Doctors believe much of the toxiicity associated with chmotherapy is related to a decrease in WBCs which leaves patients susceptible to infection.
To investigate whether supplements can reduce side effects from chemotherapy, Dr. Richard Branda from the Uinveristy of Vermont in Burlington tracked the supplements 49 women with breast cancer took during treatment. Most women, 71%, took at least one supplement. the average was three supplements, typically multivtiamins, viatmin E, and calcium. Researchers found that WBCs decreased least in women who had taken a multivitamin or vitamin E. Dr. Branda notes that patients should discuss their supplement regimen with their health care team.
Source: Cancer: 2004, Vol. 101, No. 5, 1058-64.
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