Monday, 6 August 2007

Q & A With Dr. Wender: The role of antioxidant supplements

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Dr. Richard Wender, president of the American Cancer Society, took questions from readers as part of the New York Times feature on cancer last week.

Here is an interesting question from a reader about the role of antioxidants. Leanne asks about the use of antioxidants and other supplements during cancer treatment, specifically whether they are harmful and whether they can reduce the effectiveness of some chemotherapies.

Dr. Wender responds that "the same steps that help to prevent diabetes and heart disease also help to reduce your risk of cancer. First, maintain a healthy body weight and engage in regular exercise. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a good idea, but it is not as effective in preventing cancer as having a normal weight. Avoid tobacco and excess sun exposure."

"Although studies of supplements have hinted at some value for certain cancers, the overall value appears to be much smaller than the lifestyle steps I have listed."

For more Q&As with Dr. Wender, please see here.

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