Antioxidants effect on chemo, radiation?

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Question from cilla: Do antioxidants make chemotherapy drugs like Adriamycin less potent? Do they interfere with radiation therapy?
Answers - David Grotto Like soy, there has been a lot of debate on the role of antioxidants. We have seen first hand that selective use of antioxidants and other conditional nutrients (based on patients' unique biochemistry, their radiation treatment, etc.), there is significant lowering of side effects. With Adriamycin, we use co-enzyme Q10.

Heart function can become compromised when using Adriamycin, so by using the co-enzyme Q10, our patients have minimized effects on their cardiac function. But we tailor antioxidants to the patient. We don't make blanket statements that all antioxidants are good for everyone. We recently saw a study on small cell lung cancer that showed the people receiving antioxidants compared to those who did not receive antioxidants, did better.

These results do not support the concern that antioxidants might protect cancer cells from the free cell effects of chemotherapy. We're finding that appropriate use of antioxidants may protect healthy tissue, and increase the effect of the cancer killing cells.
Penny Block There was a good discussion of this in the Integrated Therapies journal and a summary stating the preponderance of evidence indicated that antioxidants did not interfere with chemotherapy. Antioxidant supplement users were less likely to have a breast cancer recurrence.
David Grotto The study I’m citing, by Fleischauer et al, was of a breast cancer population, about antioxidant supplements and risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer related mortality among postmenopausal women. It appeared in Nutrition and Cancer 2003.
Penny Block We're trying to reinforce with good science that there will not be a problem with antioxidants, but all breast cancer patients should still discuss this with their doctor and a nutritionist, if possible.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Buying Healthy Food and Drink featured Penny B. Block, M.A., David W. Grotto, R.D., L.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about finding, buying, and preparing the healthiest food and drink for people with breast cancer and their families.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2005.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of 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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