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Home mySSlife Health Cancer patients should beware supplement use

Cancer patients should beware supplement use

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Does alternative medicine help cancer patients?

Most herbal and dietary supplements have not been tested rigorously enough to say whether they can help or harm cancer prevention or treatment. However, some non-traditional approaches show promise for easing symptoms.

Scientists generally agree on these:

MAY HELP

Massage

Mind-body techniques — meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, guided imagery

Ginger capsules for chemotherapy nausea

Yoga, tai chi

Music and art therapy

Acupuncture for certain types of nausea, pain, dry mouth and possibly hot flashes

DOES NOT HELP OR MAY HARM

High doses of vitamins E, A (beta carotene), and possibly C

Laetrile

Chaparral

Shark cartilage

Pau d'arco

PC-SPES, an herbal concoction for prostate health

RISK OF DRUG OR HORMONE INTERACTION

St. John's wort (lowers effectiveness of many medicines)

Fish oil, garlic, ginger, gingko, feverfew (bleeding risk)

Magnesium and thiazide (bad with cisplatin and similar cancer drugs)

Red clover, dong quai, licorice (hormonal risk for women on aromatase inhibitors after breast cancer)

Folic acid (interferes with the cancer drug methotrexate)

Sources: Society for Integrative Oncology, American Dietetic Association, various federal agency Web sites, AP interviews.


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

 

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