Vitamins - a nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to function and stay healthy.
Supplement - a substance taken to remedy the deficiencies in a person's diet.
Here are a few sample responses to our questions:
T1: Can vitamins be helpful to a woman diagnosed with a cancer at each point in her cancer experience - before, during and after treatment? Are there vitamin studies related to gynecologic cancers specifically?
- vitamins, from foods, are important for women diagnosed with cancer at each point in her experience
- Amounts & levels needed from food, and in some cases supplements, vary by individual based on many factors
- connecting to a nutrition expert in oncology is helpful and looking for reliable resources, like danafarber.org/nutrition
- a plant-based well balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise are shown to be helpful for many gyn cancers
- ndividualize your vitamin and supplement use while being treated for cancer. What's right for one person may not be right for another.
T2: Are there vitamins and supplements a gynecologic cancer patient should avoid during treatment - surgery/chemo/radiation/immunotherapy? What about concerns that some vitamins and supplements help cancer grow?
- yes, there are supplements to avoid during specific treatments. for example, high dose antioxidant supplements during radiation therapy
- For surgery, many supplements can have blood thinning effects and should be avoided before and after for a period of time. Your MD can advise.
- Just like with what TO take, what not to take is very individualized. Get help from your cancer pharmacy, gyn/onc, primary doc, nutritionists and/or others to be sure everything that you are taking works with your treatment.
- It’s also important to avoid high dose antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A C and E during chemo such as platinum.
- talking to a pharmacist can insure your medications are not conflicting with your treatments.
- also individualize what foods you eat. certain fruit like grapefruit can interfere with the metabolism of some drugs. ask!
T3: Which supplements are most helpful for cancer patients and are shown to boost the immune system? Where can reliable information about supplements be found?
- Sloan Kettering has a great app for reliable info ( About Herbs App- https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/diagnosis-treatment/symptom-management/integrative-medicine/herbs/about-herbs)
- Not exactly a supplement but 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week is helpful for cancer patients even during treatment
- for supporting the immune system, ask your doctor to test your vitamin d and see if it's low and needs a supplement. There are foods that can support immunity, look for easy ways to boost fruits & veggies, like smoothies.
T4: Studies have show than Vitamin D is beneficial for colon cancer patients. Is there potential to benefit gynecologic cancer patients as well?
- “People with high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream have a lower overall risk of developing colorectal cancer,” https://www.dana-farber.org/newsroom/news-releases/2015/vitamin-d-protects-against-colorectal-cancer-by-boosting-the-immune-system/
- Here's an article from @CancerNetwrk with an interview about Vitamin D https://www.cancernetwork.com/article/does-vitamin-d-have-role-cancer-prevention
- this @CancerCenter article - "Cancer patients who get the recommended dose of vitamin D during treatment lower their risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, especially if their treatment regimen includes certain therapies," https://www.cancercenter.com/community/blog/2018/07/vitamin-d-an-important-but-elusive-nutrient
T5: Are there foods patients can eat to get the vitamins they need in place of pills? What are some resources to learn more about nutrition after a cancer diagnosis?
- @theNCI Nutrition In Cancer Care PDQ-Patient Version can be a good place to start https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/appetite-loss/nutrition-pdq
- This @StanfordHealth website even include recipes https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-clinics/cancer-nutrition-services/during-cancer-treatment/nutrition-during-chemo.html
- There are some good books about eating while on cancer. One is called Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen. @DanaFarber also has a recipie app. The @savor_health blog is another resource.
Additional resources shared during the chat may be found below.
Note that there will be no #gyncsm chat in June. Mark your calendar for our next chat on Wed July 10th at 9pmET.
Thanks to everyone who has been tweeting using the #gyncsm hashtag.
See you in July!
Dana Farber Nutritional Services - https://www.dana-farber.org/for-patients-and-families/care-and-treatment/support-services-and-amenities/nutrition-services/
What Are the Best Vitamins for Cancer Patients - https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2011/12/what-are-the-best-vitamins-for-cancer-patients/
Mobile Nutrition and Recipe App https://www.cancernutrition.org/mobile-nutrition-and-recipe-app/
Conquer Magazine - What Should People With Cancer Eat https://conquer-magazine.com/issues/2019/vol-5-no-2-april-2019/948-what-should-people-with-cancer-eat
ChemoCare - Vitamins and Cancer ... http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/health-wellness/vitamins-and-cancer.aspx
ASCO Post - Avoiding Antioxidant-Drug Interactions During Cancer Treatment - https://www.ascopost.com/issues/july-25-2014/avoiding-antioxidant-drug-interactions-during-cancer-treatment/
Cancerdotnet - Myths about Cancer and Food Explained https://www.cancer.net/blog/2016-06/5-myths-about-cancer-and-food-explained-dietitians
American Institute for Cancer Research http://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/healthy-or-harmful/supplements.html
American Cancer Society - Dietary Supplements - What is Safe? http://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/healthy-or-harmful/supplements.html
NIH Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/