Radiation Therapy and Supplements

Patients undergoing radiation therapy frequently wonder if taking supplements will improve their response to cancer treatment.

Antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy and radiation therapy is a controversial subject.  Some studies suggest taking antioxidant supplements during treatment may be beneficial and some studies tell us this may be harmful. The scientific evidence on this topic is not strongly for or against taking antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment.  We need more research to definitively settle the question of whether taking antioxidants during cancer treatment is harmful or helpful. It is very likely that antioxidants during cancer treatment may be beneficial for some people, yet harmful for others.  No two people, or cancers, are the same. 

There is not any evidence to support that whole foods that are high in antioxidants are harmful or interfere with treatment. The American Institute for Cancer Research and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest eating a well-balanced diet of lean meats, fish, poultry, dried beans, nuts and peas, skim milk, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

As always, it is best to check with your physician about potential interactions between vitamins, minerals, and herbs and the medicines you are taking.

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