• How do you propose the question to have vitamins checked?

    Asked by fulto11 on Thursday, November 17, 2011

    How do you propose the question to have vitamins checked?

    I am not looking for a cure; just wanting the best health during chemo. I asked the Oncology Nurse if I could have blood work done (for my husband) to see if he is deficient in Vitamins; such as calcium or D. My question derived from wanting to make sure his tiredness, aches, etc. was not from the simplicity of vitamin deficiency. I could almost see a fog go over her face. Her tone became more curt and she said I could talk to the doctor about it when we go back for chemo on Dec. 2. Am I right to want this? Am I asking the question wrong?

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Your doc will likely have the best answers.
      There's some evidence that some vitamins (e.g., Coenzyme q10 and vitamin e) actually help the tumor resist chemo... and there's some evidence that other supplements can reduce side effects (e.g., glutamine) and/or make chemo more effective while providing some protection to your healthy cells (e.g., selenium).

      I took a list of the things I was thinking about taking to my onc doc. He "approved" something like 4 of the 6 and recommended against 2 of the six (vitamin e was one of them).

      This is a really interesting question because you want to have the strongest body possible during chemo, but you don't want to arm the tumor with any defense against the chemo.

      So my recommendation is exactly what the nurse said - althoiugh I don't understand why she would get "curt" - ask your onc. Do some research... ask for recommendations ...

      My supplement list is:
      glutamine for days 1 - 4 after chemo (three times per day - around 10 g in water)
      vitamin B12 (once or twice a week)
      vitamin D (we live in the north)

      I hope this helps.
      Oh - another concern my onc doc had was that if you load up on a bunch of supplements, you might have more problems with digestion (e.g., iron can cause constipation, just like our anti-naus drugs!) and nausea. So holding back a little might prevent exacerbation of problems with nausea....

      Best wishes.

      almost 9 years ago
    • SunnyCloud's Avatar

      I remember being asked if I took any kind of supplements. My answer was no. But I did drink Gatorade & Ensure the 1st few weeks til I became tired of them. The doctor seemed to approve of this. I did notice that when I stopped drinking them, I started to feel more tired & more nauseous. Unless it was because my body had more and more chemo and radiation. Anyhow, try Ensure or Boost for muscle and or immune system.

      almost 9 years ago
    • mybirch's Avatar

      I think this is a vital question for anyone who has cancer, or knows and loves someone with cancer. My father was diagnosed with kidney cancer about 8 weeks ago, and subsequently had a full nephrectomy along with the massive tumor removed. I did comprehensive internet searches and found a LOT of evidence that supplemental therapies are of great help. Often there are formulas of vitamins and nutrients that are specifically designed for people with lowered immune function, and in Europe, it's nearly unheard of to go through cancer without complimentary supplemental therapies. I agree though that one HAS to be careful with certain broad spectrum vitamins...generally they have several things which the body does NOT need. I got my father lots of supplements, including something called 'Wellness Formula', a mix drink, 'Acia Splash' which has concentrates of 10 different berries, PB 12 Probiotic blend, which is great at nurishing the intestinal tract, helping digestion and absorbtion of nutrition(not to mention studies showing certain strains and their natural defense against certain cancers), I got him Maqui Berry, liquid Megnesium with trace minerals and also a specific mushroom blend supplement that I did a lot of research on showing GREAT benifits for cancer patients(including Cordicep, Reishie, Miataki, and Turkey Tail mushrooms)...
      I think it's always best to do the research, ask your Doctors, if you have found supporting evidence in the help of something, TELL the Dr., show the evidence if it makes you feel better...but now, my Dad is only 4 weeks post op, and he's hunting the woods of Maine...his Dr. told him after surgery he'd be basically on bed rest for about 3 months...and he told me last night that he thinks it's the supplements that have helped tremendously...
      I do hope this helps...Cancer is terrifying, chemo and radiation, even once cancer free...life is changed because it CAN return...so doing all we can to reduce that chance, to help heal is imperitive...Drs are amazing, but they are not trained in EVERY field, they continue learning, often some of that new knowlege is gleaned from involved patients that are inquisitive and realize that knowledge is power, and it CAN help.
      I hope this helps, and your loved one will be in my thoughts!
      Very Sincerely

      almost 9 years ago
    • Carol55's Avatar

      I'm so sorry you were treated that way by the nurse. Of course you were not asking the wrong way or the wrong questions. That is what you paid the doctor to clarify. Please do ask the questions to the doctor. (He may also like to hear in a non-confrontational way your thoughts on how the nurse responded. I've worked for a doctor...they only know how the nurse responds to him, not in the room alone with a patient.) Please, please don't give up because a nurse had a bad day or has a bad personality--most nurses are angels. This is a very difficult time and you don't need to be treated like that! Good luck and keep us posted on how Dec 2 goes. Hang in there!! We are cheering for you across the miles!

      almost 9 years ago
    • fulto11's Avatar

      I love you all. Each time I read a response, from one of you, I get teary eyed. It's like you can feel the love and caring in your letters. What a beautiful web site. All of you, have a wonderful day.

      almost 9 years ago
    • Elizabeth's Avatar

      When I am concerned with something I just call my doctors. I go to a good Clinic/ Hospital and they let you call anytime. One time my doctor even missed her lunch break to talk to me about my Chemo. They answered every question I asked to the best of their abilities and they were happy to do it. I've even asked them to order blood work for me when I was concerned I might be Anemic. Next time you talk to your doctor ask them if its ok for you to call if you have questions or concerns. I'm sure they are happy to address it.

      almost 9 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      See if your cancer center has an Integrative Medicine group affiliated. There are numerous supplements that should NOT be taken during chemo and radiation, as they counteract the effects of your treatments (you don't want anti-oxidants when chemo and radiation work by oxidizing tumors.) You can always send questions to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Integrative Medicine group regarding supplements and what vitamins to have checked. I know that vitamin D has been high on the watch list now. Talk to your drs and simply ask that they check your vitamin levels. My MSK dr (in Integrative Med) regularly checks my vitamin D, B6 and B12 (colon surgery often affects absorption of some of the B vitamins.) Of note, however, is that folic acid (folate) is contra-indicated in colon cancer patients, so any B vitamin supplements I take must be low in Folate. I don't use multivitamins - I was advised to stop.

      almost 9 years ago

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