Breast Cancer Treatment and Antioxidants


Anchor lead: Supplements known as antioxidants may be
harmful for women being treated for breast cancer, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you’re being treated for breast cancer, taking
supplements that fall into a category known as ‘antioxidants’ may not be a good
idea, a recent study found. This includes vitamins such as C, E, and A, notes
William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Nelson: There was a general worry that providing a lot of
antioxidants at a time when chemotherapy for instance might generate breast
cancer killing by oxidizing the breast cancer DNA maybe that’s not the time to
use an antioxidant. The people who took iron and B12 supplements had even worse
breast cancer recurrence and for death. Women who took a multivitamin they
didn’t appear to change their breast cancer risk in this trial so its enough to
pause and think about what you’re doing, particularly before and during
treatment.  :31

Nelson says women should definitely talk with their
oncologist if they’re taking supplements at all. At Johns Hopkins, I’m
Elizabeth Tracey.