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Antioxidants with Concurrent Cancer Therapies: To Use or Not to Use?

Antioxidants with Concurrent Cancer Therapies:
To Use or Not to Use?

The American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food & Nutrition Conference & Exhibition 2002

1:30 - 3:00 pm
October 21, 2002

Philadelphia, PA

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Dietary supplements and antioxidants are the most widely used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) product by cancer patients. Supplement use, including antioxidants, is estimated at approximately 60% in outpatients at a comprehensive cancer center, 26.6% among breast cancer survivors of four ethnic groups in San Francisco, 49.6% among breast cancer survivors in Canada, and 34% of prostate cancer patients. Often, antioxidants are used in combination with conventional oncology treatment. The possible impact of antioxidants on the efficacy of conventional treatment, amelioration of side effects or toxicity of conventional treatment, recurrence, and survival are as yet unevaluated by compelling, well controlled studies, either in pre-clinical models or in cancer patients.

Session Objectives:

  1. To identify those populations groups and behaviors reflective of dietary supplement use.
  2. To examine the level of evidence for the use of antioxidants alone and with other cancer treatment agents (chemotherapy, and radiotherapy).
  3. To have a greater understanding of the biology, pharmacology, and toxicology of antioxidants and their interactions at target tissues and with combination therapies.


Overview of CAM & Dietary Supplement Use in Cancer Patients (pdf file)
Mary Ann Richardson, DrPh
Program Officer, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
New Insights into the Mechanism of Action of Antioxidants (pdf file)
John Milner, PhD
Chief, National Cancer Institute/Nutritional Science Research Group
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Antioxidant Use and Cancer Treatments: Interpreting the Facts for Patients (pdf file)
Selected References
Barbara Winters, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor, Marywood University
Scranton, Pennsylvania