Certain foods and herbal products can interact with cancer medications, including some mesothelioma drugs. Interactions can change how cancer medications work or possibly increase the risk for serious side effects. If you are being treated for cancer, talk to your doctor about what foods, herbal products, or vitamins you should avoid.
Supplements and Alternative Medicine
Ingestible complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as supplements, herbs, and vitamins, are a favored option for many cancer patients. About 50 percent of all cancer patients acknowledge using CAM as part of their treatment.
While CAM supplements are safe to use for healthy people, cancer patients may have trouble with them. According to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, using supplements during chemotherapy may cause biological activities that could interact with certain chemotherapies.
The study categorizes CAM supplements into two categories: antioxidants and substances that could influence the effectiveness of a chemotherapeutic regimen. In the first category, antioxidants, like green tea, may reduce the action of radiation and some chemotherapies, according to the study. Mesothelioma patients receiving the chemotherapy drug known as bevacizumab carboplatin (Avastin®), should avoid ingesting a large amount of antioxidants.
Green tea is a type of tea made from Camellia sinensis leaves. Many cultures around the world use green tea as a medicine or dietary supplement. Some cancer patients believe consuming green tea might prevent metastasis or cure their cancer. However, more research needs to be done before suggesting green tea fights cancer. Because of the nature of antioxidants, some doctors believe consuming green tea supplements with certain chemotherapy drugs could lead to the body rapidly absorbing and breaking down the drug. If you are a mesothelioma patient, ask your doctor if consuming green tea or green tea supplements may interfere with your treatment.
It is safe for cancer patients to eat antioxidant-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and beans. However, it’s best to avoid taking antioxidant dietary supplements during mesothelioma treatment before talking to your doctor. Each type of chemotherapy treatment is different and may have different interactions.
Food and Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Interferences
Mesothelioma patients taking bevacizumab carboplatin, under the brand name Avastin®, should avoid taking concentrated green tea supplements or consuming large amounts of green tea, as it may interfere with cancer drugs. Certain components of green tea could lessen the efficacy of chemotherapy or increase side effects.
Mesothelioma patients who are prescribed Doxorubicin, under the brand names Adriamycin, Doxil, Rubex, or Caelyx, should avoid eating foods or products that contain turmeric (curcumin). Foods that contain turmeric may decrease doxorubicin’s effects and reduce the body’s ability to fight mesothelioma.
Consuming alcohol during treatment using methotrexate may reduce the effectiveness of the medication. Methotrexate can cause liver problems, and drinking increases the risk of complications. Mesothelioma patients should limit or avoid using alcohol while undergoing treated with methotrexate.
Continue Getting Good Nutrition, Even With a Limited Diet
While your doctor may suggest staying away from certain foods, supplements, or herbs, it’s important to stay as healthy as possible during treatment. Good nutrition helps mesothelioma patients cope with side effects of treatment, allows the body to fight off the disease, and protect it from developing other complications.
One way to maintain a healthy appetite during treatment is to eat a balanced diet consisting of healthy foods high in protein and calories. Patients may benefit from chicken, fish, beans, nuts, spinach, eggs, or yogurt. For extra calories, consume healthy fats like avocado, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, and squash.
Remember to keep your diet well-balanced before, during, and after treatment for mesothelioma. Your body needs to heal and recover during each step of treatment. Talk to your doctor before adding any supplements or herbs to your diet.