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Herbs and Supplements for Cancer Patients

Supplements_blogIt is common for cancer patients to seek out herbs and other dietary supplements to make an effort in improving their health or to cope with their symptoms. But many oncologists do not feel comfortable having discussions about these products. Fewer than half of cancer doctors bring up the subject with their patients. Many physicians cited a lack of knowledge as their primary reason, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (November 2014).

“It’s really about getting more research out there and more education so oncologists can feel comfortable having these conversations,” said Dr. Richard Lee, medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Some active ingredients in the herbs and supplements might cause harmful interactions with standard cancer treatments; others may nullify the effects of therapies. For example, there are some foods and supplements that can cause skin reactions when taken by patients who are going through radiation treatments. There are also studies that show certain herbs can affect how chemotherapy drugs are absorbed and metabolized by the body, according to the American Cancer Society. To help avoid these side effects, it is highly recommended to first discuss its use with a medical professional that is knowledgeable on these supplements. Some oncologists at UCLA have noted that they try to know all the research about the cancer they are treating and many recommend that a patient talk with someone they trust who reads the literature on bioactives in foods and supplements.

At the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, we provide expert advice on taking supplements while going through cancer treatments as well as making certain that patients maximize their wellness through nutrition. The Center provides a supportive setting where concerns and questions can be addressed in regards to nutrition through individual oncology assessments with Carolyn Katzin MS, Simms/Mann UCLA Center Integrative Oncology Specialist.  While there is a fee for this service, we often find that the cost of it is worth the benefits and often saves patients money by helping them to select supplements that are appropriate for them or how to obtain benefits from eating the best foods without supplementation.  Each person’s needs are considered individually and there is open communication with the oncology physicians.

With 25 years of experience working in the field of oncology and nutrition, Carolyn is able to use her extensive knowledge of nutritional science and pharmacognosy (the science of bioactives in plants) to counsel patients on wellness and nutrition. She’s worked with individuals and their families in developing a healthy lifestyle that includes safe foods and supplements for those that would benefit from it.

For an individual integrative assessment with Carolyn, please call 310-794-6644 or email to make an appointment.

To read more information on the individual integrative assessments offered at the Simms/Mann UCLA Center, go to:

For “Cancer Doctors Don’t Discuss Herbs, Supplements with Patients” article on HealthFinder.Gov, go to:

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    April 14, 2020 21:04
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