- Question from Dimacken: I am currently undergoing radiation and wanted to start taking antioxidants but have recently read that they may be more harmful to you if you already have cancer. Is this true? If so what would be more beneficial to take?
- Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Radiation therapy is a treatment modality that works by killing rapidly dividing cells and this occurs through the formation of free radicals. Antioxidants' role in cancer prevention is to prevent the formation of free radicals which can induce a potential cancer from beginning. Therefore we typically use antioxidants to prevent bad free radicals from forming, but during radiation therapy we use the free radicals to kill the rapidly dividing cells, such as treating fire with fire. Therefore the antioxidants during radiation could have a negative effect or counteract the effect of the radiation therapy and this would not be good. This is also true for certain types of chemotherapeutic agents such as Adriamycin-based regimens so it is incredibly important that every patient discuss whatever supplements they are taking with their treating physician.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Vitamins and Herbal Supplements featured Gary Deng, M.D., Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about how to safely and sensibly incorporate vitamins and supplements into your diet.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 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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