- Question from MJCS: Is flax seed or oil okay with ER/PR-positive metastasis? I figure, what have I got to lose? Currently, I have metastasis to all bones and lung fluid. Seems to be some promising research suggesting flax can stop cancer cells. I guess I am asking how much risk we should take at Stage IV. Thanks for this conference!
- Answers - Larry Norton, M.D. In terms of resources, you should know about Breastcancer.org, and also, Memorial Sloan-Kettering's site at mskcc.org has an Integrative Medicine section on medicinal plants and other alternative medicines. It's a good place to get solid information. The fundamental issue is that most plant products have not been adequately tested for us to know how safe they are. This is especially true with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer because so many plants have estrogen-like activity. The other fact is that some of these plant products, by the way they are handled in the body, can change the metabolism of other drugs that are administered. So effective anti-cancer drugs could be made ineffective by the simultaneous administration of plant products. So the question is what do I have to lose? Potentially, a lot, and I would suggest great caution in this regard. By all means, make sure your doctor knows everything you're taking. Don’t assume that because it's not labeled a drug that it's safe.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. The FDA does not test food products including flax seed oil, and therefore we are without rigorous study information or an accountability from companies that make these products.
- Larry Norton, M.D. We don't even know for sure if what is labeled flax seed oil is in fact flax seed oil. We don't know if the labeling is accurate.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer featured Larry Norton, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing day-to-day life with metastatic breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2007.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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