Nutritional supplements are widely used among patients with cancer who perceive them to be anticancer and antitoxicity agents. Depending on the type of malignancy and the gender 30%–90% of the cancer patients supplement their diets with antioxidant and immuno-stabilizing micronutrients, such as selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin D, often without the knowledge of the treating physician. From the oncological viewpoint, there are justifiable concerns that dietary supplements decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Recent studies, however, have provided increasing evidence that treatment is tolerated better—with an increase in patient compliance and a lower rate of treatment discontinuations—when micronutrients, such as selenium, are added as appropriate to the patient’s medication. Nutritional supplementation tailored to an individual’s background diet, genetics, tumor histology, and treatments may yield benefits in subsets of patients. Clinicians should have an open dialogue with patients about nutritional supplements. Supplement advice needs to be individualized and come from a credible source, and it is best communicated by the physician.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited