Current Oncology Reports

, 16:411 | Cite as

The Use of Dietary Supplements in Oncology

  • Moshe Frenkel
  • Victor Sierpina
Integrative Care (C Lammersfeld, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Integrative Care


The use of dietary supplements among patients affected by cancer is extensive, with an estimated 20-90 % of patients using these products. Their use of these products is often not shared with the treating physician. This is because patients perceive or believe that their physicians are indifferent or negative toward the use of dietary supplements. As a result, patients may obtain information about dietary supplements from unreliable sources, exposing themselves to unnecessary risks. Since there are limited scientific data on the efficacy and safety of many dietary supplements, advising patients about when to use them during the course of illness is a clinical challenge. Improving the communication process between the health care team and their patients in this area is critical. We describe a practical patient-centered approach to managing dietary supplement use in cancer care. This approach makes use of all available scientific data relating to the safety and efficacy of these supplements combined with how to have an open, patient-centered discussion with patients about their needs and expectations.


Complementary medicine Alternative medicine Cancer care Nutritional supplements Dietary supplements Patient–physician communication 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Moshe Frenkel and Victor Sierpina declare that they have no conflict of interest

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.The Integrative Medicine Unit, The Institute of OncologyMeir Medical CenterKfar SabaIsrael

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