HealthDay News — Nineteen percent of adults living with and beyond cancer believe that dietary supplements (DSs) are important for reducing cancer recurrence risk, according to a study published online December 20 in Cancer.

Rana E. Conway, PhD, from University College London, and colleagues recruited adults who had been diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer. A total of 1049 participants completed a mailed survey and telephone or online 24-hour dietary recalls, which included supplement use.

The researchers found that 19% of the participants believed that DSs were important for reducing cancer recurrence risk, and 40% reported using DSs. There was a positive association for DS use with being female, meeting five-a-day fruit and vegetable recommendations, and believing that DSs were important for reducing the risk for cancer recurrence (odds ratios, 2.48, 1.36, and 3.13, respectively). There was a negative association seen for DS use with having obesity (odds ratio, 0.58). Fish oils were the most commonly taken DSs overall (13%). The most common DS taken by individuals with breast cancer was calcium with or without vitamin D (15%).

“As the number of people living with or beyond cancer increases, there is a growing need for a more holistic approach to long-term health care,” Conway said in a statement. “Information about the role of supplements and the lack of evidence that they reduce cancer recurrence would be beneficial, alongside discussions about the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity.”

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