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Cancer Patients Still Taking Antioxidant Supplements

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Cancer patients are still taking antioxidant supplements, despite concerns that they could interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, US News & World Report said.

A new study published in the journal Cancer found that 61 percent of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation or anti-estrogen drug therapy were taking antioxidant supplements, such as Vitamins C and E, beta carotene or selenium, the magazine said.

Scientists aren't certain that the antioxidants are harmful, but some evidence suggests the supplements could protect the cells that cancer therapies are trying to destroy. Proponents of antioxidants argue otherwise, saying antioxidants may help chemo and radiation combat the deadly cells, the magazine said.

Heather Greenlee, lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology and medical oncology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said there isn't enough information to settle the question. What doses, if any, could be problematic is also unknown, she said, according to U.S. News.

Cancer patients should continue to eat fruits and vegetables that contain natural antioxidants, the magazine reported. Also, tell your doctor what medications and supplements you are taking, even things such as green tea extract.

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