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Cancer
 
Special Vitamins, Supplements and Other
Immune Boosting Products for
Cancer Patients

In cancer, the immune system is of vital importance in at least two ways:
  1. Recognizing and eliminating malignant tumors.
    "Animal studies have conclusively shown that the immune system can recognize and eliminate malignant tumors in vivo (in the body)."
    - Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine,
      14th Edition, Biologic Therapy, p. 535

  2. Lessening the effects of cytotoxic (cell-killing) therapy such as chemotherapy.
    "Autopsy studies show that most deaths from acute leukemia and half of deaths from lymphoma are caused directly by infection. With more intensive chemotherapy, patients with solid tumors have become more likely to die of infection rather than underlying disease."
    - Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th
      Edition, Infections in Patients with Cancer, p. 537

Mainstream medicine has recognized the importance of the immune system in controlling cancer. In fact, cancer immunotherapy aims at boosting the naturally occurring immune response at a level that will prevail over the ability of cancer cells to escape immune attack.

Various herbs, vitamins, enzymes, peptides, and other naturally occurring substances have been employed to boost the immune system and manage various diseases including cancer. In fact, some of these substances, such as Chinese herbs have been used for thousands of years. Early research shows that some herbs and natural products appear to have the potential to prevent cancer growth. However, well documented clinical studies in patients of naturally occurring substances are the exception not the rule. This is because natural products are more difficult to patent and therefore represent a much slimmer profit margin compared to synthesized drugs created in the lab such as chemotherapy. Because drug companies finance the majority of clinical trials, they are more interested in investing in drugs that they can patent and market at an attractive price.

Nonetheless, there is information available in medical journals and other reputable sources about the efficacy of various substances in enhancing or boosting one's immune system. One approach is to start with a substance for which there are claims for immune enhancement in cancer patients and see if there is any independent research to substantiate such a claim.

For example a search for curcumin and cancer on Pubmed lists 422 articles published in peer reviewed medical and scientific journals. A search for lignan and cancer lists 1,174 articles. Ellagic acid and cancer retrieves 107 articles. L-arginine and cancer retrieves 1,520 articles. Browsing the abstracts of these articles (free of charge on Pubmed) will give you a sense if there is any basis to claims of immune support in cancer.

Below are companies that provide unique immune boosting products used by cancer patients. These companies are also proud sponsors of Cancer Monthly.

Note: It is always advisable to discuss the taking of any vitamin, herb or supplement with your professional healthcare provider.