Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (September 20, 2011)

What’s your supplement

Woman talking to her doctor
Listen to TipAudio

Take the Next Step

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

For those fighting cancer, herbal supplements may not be the answer. Researchers compared cancer patients 65 and older with younger patients, examining how they use supplements and the reasons why.

Dr. June McKoy is at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“Younger users used herbal supplements more with an intent to make symptoms of chemotherapy or their cancer itself better, while older patients did so with the intent to get a cure.” (11 seconds)

Using supplements when taking chemotherapy can cause serious side effects.  

“When in doubt, just stop all the supplements if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you’re about to start chemotherapy. Start with a fresh new slate and let your doctor layer things on.” (9 seconds)

The study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: September 20, 2011