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Topic: Effectiveness of Chemo Reduced by Supplements & Delay

Forum: HER2+ (Positive) Breast Cancer —

Testing, treatment, side effects, and more.

Posted on: Nov 2, 2019 05:09PM - edited Nov 2, 2019 05:13PM by vogonna

vogonna wrote:

Hi everyone - This is my first post, so I hope I'm going about this the right way - I found this website while searching for answers to the question above.

This week, I found articles warning that supplements - such as Vitamin C and Fish Oil - makes chemotherapy less effective and should be avoided. Unfortunately, I've been taking ***both of these,*** every single day, along with multivitamins.

And on top of that - My chemo treatments were delayed almost 5 months post-surgery due to chronic infection; so of course, I find studies that show that each month post-surgery significantly increases chances of recurrence of HER+. (They don't even do studies after 3 months)

I'm HER2+ (er/pr -) , dx'd DCIS in right breast 3/5/19, bi-lat MX with DIEP Flap performed 4/18/19. Reconstruction failed on the right side due to chronic infection. Meanwhile, pathology came back showing it was actually worse than DCIS - "multiple micro-invasions" riddled throughout tissue coming within <.5 cm to the margins. Lymph nodes removed tested negative. Oncologist recommended chemo every three weeks - four rounds of Taxol, along with Herceptin which will continue for one year, depending on reevaluation at 6 mos.

Just had my last round of Taxol on Thursday and raised my concerns about the delay and the supplements with my Oncologist, who told me to "stop reading stuff online."

He doesn't think we need to tweak the dosage or length of treatments in any way, and suggested I take something for anxiety, instead. I'm pretty sure he's right, but I'm still considering getting a second opinion. Either way, it really sucks to think that my treatment plan has been compromised by delay AND by self-sabotage via supplements. I'm hoping some one here might have insight or experience that will help me put things into proper perspective.

Thanks for listening

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Nov 2, 2019 06:51PM MinusTwo wrote:

vogonna - I'm with your MO - stop believing everything you read. I took both Vit C and Fish Oil through out my entire treatment - chemo, surgery, more chemo, rads, herceptin for a year. Both my MO and my RO said go for it - good for you. The only exception was a week before surgery since fish oil, along with Vit E and aspirin might delay clotting.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Nov 3, 2019 01:47PM vogonna wrote:

Thanks, Minus Two! That helped! :)

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Nov 3, 2019 03:09PM seawell wrote:

Hey there vogonna.... I finished chemo (4 doses of TC) at the end of August. My oncologist just told me to stop taking my multi vitamins including any antioxidants but she said I could continue with D, calcium and some others. I went ahead and stopped everything and restarted everything 6 weeks post final chemo, including fish oils, E, biotin and many more. Not sure that taking supplements would lessen the benefits of chemo....keep in mind most of the supplements we take get wasted and eliminated via urine...and there’s no hard evidence that fish oil lessens effect of chemo. If there was, your MD would have told you to stop. I know its hard to stay away from Dr. Google but it’s a good suggestion....there are lots of hidden agendas on line so we should all beware. But I know that I’m curious too and want to gain as much knowledge as possible. I’m also a firm believer in anti anxiety meds to help us get thru this period in our lives. It’s a lot, and if we can relax a bit, that can only help. Sending you positive vibes and love
Dx 3/2019, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes, ER+, HER2- Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 3, 2019 03:23PM - edited Nov 3, 2019 03:29PM by Scrafgal

My MO said that my multivitamin was fine since they were not very potent. Vitamins and antioxidants from food are okay as well, he said. However, he advised against megadosing, as in super potent vitamins that are mostly found online or in health food stores, including but not limited to IV vitamin infusions, which are popular now, because they could lower the effectiveness of my chemo. I pretty much took a multivitamin and worked out up until the last 4-6 weeks of chemo, after which I was just too fatigued to work out.

Dx 12/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/6/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 3/22/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 6/15/2017 FAC Hormonal Therapy 9/25/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 10/13/2017 Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 5/9/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery 10/16/2018 Reconstruction (right): Nipple tattoo Surgery 5/9/2019 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy 7/23/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 9/6/2019 Reconstruction (right): Nipple tattoo
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Nov 3, 2019 09:34PM - edited Nov 3, 2019 09:34PM by vogonna

Thanks seawell and scrafgal - I'm inclined to agree (and hope) that if it anti-oxidants and fish oil were a Really Big Deal, my MO would have mentioned it. He gave me a patient's handbook which lists medications to avoid, but nothing about food or supplements other than the standard "be sure to tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking," etc.. In the paperwork before chemo, I filled out that I was taking vitamins/supplements, and he didn't raise the issue or tell me not to take them.

Thanks again y'all for "talking me down" - I do feel a little better now, and as soon as my infection clears up, I'm going to rejoin my gym, which will probably help with the anxiety, too.

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Nov 4, 2019 05:58PM WC3 wrote:


My understanding is that fish oil was found to reduce the effectiveness of platinum based chemotherapies, such as carboplatin, oxiplatin, and cisplatin in mice.

Pathologic complete response (pCR) to chemotherapy. Dx 2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 6/1/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/15/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Dec 25, 2019 02:32AM - edited Dec 25, 2019 02:51AM by NATSGSG

Dear Vogona, sorry to hear about the postponement. From the moment I found I had cancer, I start taking supplements to boost my immune system (agaricus blazei from Even when I started chemo 5 weeks after my surgery, I continued taking them every day except on the day of chemo, even tho my medical oncologist recommended not to.

Chemo esp herceptin and the likes are exceeding toxic, besides weakening our immune system. Most people taking nothing seems to have various degrees of side effects. I had none st all during my 9 to 10 weeks weekly sessions.. During chemo, I also brought 1.5 liters of green bean drink (see my thread with recipe under NATSGSG). to drink.This drink is used in TCM to detoxify the body. I drink up to 4 or 5 liters of fluid (juices, soup, water etc combination) to hydrate my body.This too helped to reduce any side effects. I had a terrific appetite as a result. I was HER2 + I had a very minor post surgery skin surface infection at the sutured area that cleared up with a cream application given by my Dr.

So, you may wish to consider getting agricus blazei mushrooms supplement instead? My GFs who took them all didnt HV side effects or infections. Those who did not, unfortunately had side effectds coz their immune system were down. They told me they also tended to get cold or infections easier, post treatment.

Post treatment, I added Carlson's Super Omega 3 & Neptune's Krill 1000 supplements for a year thereafter.

All the very best to you on your recovery. N Merry Xmas to you.

NATSGSG Dx 3/16/2015, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 8/11/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right
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Dec 25, 2019 11:19AM illimae wrote:

I had similar questions for my MO during treatment and was given the following advice.

1) Try to get your vitamins, minerals, etc from food, not pills.

2) If you must use google for medical research, add “nih” to the search, that way you’re getting to verified medical studies and trial results instead or random blogs with incredible claims and cures.

Good luck 🙂

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Surgery 1/22/2020 Radiation Therapy 2/17/2020 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 7/20/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy Tukysa (tucatinib) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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