What every Cancer Patient Should Know about Herbs and Supplements
Posted on July 22, 2020
Mary Darden- Oncology Nurse Practitioner- certified in Integrative Oncology
A diagnosis of cancer can be terrifying. Patients and their families generally want to do everything possible to have the best chance of cure. Surgery, oral and IV medications and radiation are often used to treat the disease and aim to prevent recurrence.
Often patients get advice from well-meaning friends and family or read on the internet that certain herbs and supplements treat or cure cancer. This information may be passed down in families or suggested by alternative health care practitioners (Amish healer, naturopath, and other unlicensed providers).
Many of these remedies are unproven and unregulated. Most have no scientific data to back up their claims. They are also not regulated by the FDA therefore unless it carries the Good Manufacturing Seal, it cannot be guaranteed to contain what is on the label.
A reliable online source of information on herb/supplement and drug interactions is: https://www.drugs.com/npc/
The rule of thumb is… If you are taking or considering taking an herb or supplement during cancer treatment, speak to your Oncology Pharmacist who can best advise you of the benefits and risks of altering or adding to your treatment medications. If needed, they can direct you to your oncology provider (MD, NP, PA) or request a trained Integrative Oncology consult for an in-depth discussion.