Talking with your doctor about dietary supplements

No matter what kind of treatment you are getting, it’s always safest to talk with your doctor about the type and amount of each supplement you want to try. Do this before you spend any money or start taking anything new. If you have been taking supplements and want to keep taking them, it’s important that your doctor knows this, too.

Many doctors are just starting to learn about the uses, risks, and potential benefits of dietary supplements. In some cases, it can cause problems between patient and doctor when it comes to using supplements along with standard cancer treatment. This is getting better as more studies are done and better information is becoming available.

Gather as much information as you can on the dietary supplement you are thinking about using. Then, approach your doctor with the information you have, and ask for an open conversation about it. Ask for his or her professional opinion as to whether the treatment is safe and medically sound. Also ask how it might be safely used along with your cancer treatment. Remember to make sure that your doctor knows about other medicines, vitamins, and supplements that you’re already taking.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: March 31, 2015

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