Dietary Supplements Commonly Used by Cancer Survivors: Are There Any Benefits?

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Abstract

Following a cancer diagnosis, dietary supplements are reportedly used by 20%–80% of individuals. Supplements are most commonly used by breast cancer survivors, followed by patients with prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers, which is not surprising since these are the most common types of cancer diagnosed in adults. Reasons cited for such use include improving quality of life, reducing symptoms related to treatment and/or the disease process, and recommendation from medical practitioners; family and friends may also be an influence. However, controversy surrounds the use of dietary supplements, particularly during treatment—specifically, whether supplements affect treatment efficacy is unknown. This article discusses the evidence related to common dietary supplements used to prevent cancer or a recurrence.

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