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Many Believe Dietary Supplements Cut Risk for Cancer Recurrence

Among adults diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer, 40 percent report using dietary supplements

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Nineteen percent of adults living with and beyond cancer believe that dietary supplements (DSs) are important for reducing cancer recurrence risk, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in Cancer.

Rana E. Conway, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues recruited adults who had been diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer. A total of 1,049 participants completed a mailed survey and telephone or online 24-hour dietary recalls, which included supplement use.

The researchers found that 19 percent of the participants believed that DSs were important for reducing cancer recurrence risk, and 40 percent reported using DSs. There was a positive association for DS use with being female, meeting five-a-day fruit and vegetable recommendations, and believing that DSs were important for reducing the risk for cancer recurrence (odds ratios, 2.48, 1.36, and 3.13, respectively). There was a negative association seen for DS use with having obesity (odds ratio, 0.58). Fish oils were the most commonly taken DSs overall (13 percent). The most common DS taken by individuals with breast cancer was calcium with or without vitamin D (15 percent).

“As the number of people living with or beyond cancer increases, there is a growing need for a more holistic approach to long-term health care,” Conway said in a statement. “Information about the role of supplements and the lack of evidence that they reduce cancer recurrence would be beneficial, alongside discussions about the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity.”

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