A recent warning to avoid fish oil during chemotherapy for cancer treatments raises the question: Can vitamins and supplements do more harm than good? In the case of cancer patients taking fish oils, this might be the case.
In mice, the administration of fish oil, while getting a common chemotherapy agent cisplatin (used in many cancer treatment regimens from lung to breast cancer), caused a reduction in the sensitivity to the chemo.
With this proven, oncologists are recommending that patients avoid fish oil at the time of chemotherapy, with the thought that this type of fatty acid may interact with the chemo medication and make it less effective.
So, rather than presuming that supplements are benign at worst, it may be that they are more trouble than they are worth, particularly when medications are an important treatment for your serious health condition.
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Dr. Donald Morton recently passed away. As a cancer surgeon, he pioneered the treatment called SENTINAL NODE BIOPSY.
This simple and effective therapy for identifying lymph node involvement in cancer (or lack of involvement) led to more limited surgeries for cancer, more specific treatment protocols, and improved patient outcomes for many cancers.
It is a technique so widely used and adapted that it is difficult to imagine modern medicine without it, as I have hundreds of patients who have had this technique used in their treatment during my career.
Once again, this also emphasizes the amazing contributions from UCLA Medical Center and highlights the excellence in medical care that is merely an hours flight away from all of us in Phoenix.
A new medication is under research that is having significant impact on a variety of cancers. This medication, still without a name, is in a group of medicines that block a protein called PD-1.
In a recent study, early results have been encouraging in lung cancer, melanoma, and kidney cancer. Even at advanced stages, this new medication can have significant results for certain patients.
A variety of companies are putting great research effort into further development and it is hoped that these medication will be beyond ‘study’ and into practice in approximately a year.
Metformin (Glucophage) is a medication used in treating diabetes for the past 50 years. It has a great track record of safety and is very inexpensive.
It has always been recognized as a ‘first line’ therapy, as it reduces the body’s insulin levels and helps in losing weight.
If that weren’t enough, recent studies have suggested that it also reduces the risk of various cancers, again, by reducing insulin levels.
This cancer reduction was recently confirmed in a large study from Holland, which included 85,000 diabetic patients.
This is great news and makes me even more of a supporter of the use of Metformin in a majority of diabetic patients, as opposed to using more expensive, and newer medications such as ACTOS or JANUVIA.
Often, Metformin needs to be used in combination with other diabetic treatments, but I will continue to focus on Metformin as the lynphin in oral treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.