Cancer happens when cells split without control or order. As more cells are made, they form a growth or tumor. This may harm nearby healthy cells and spread to other parts of the body.

The risk of some types of cancer can be lowered with habit changes, such as not smoking, eating fruits and veggies, keeping a healthy weight, exercising, and staying away from too much sun. Some people turn to natural therapies to further lower their risk.

Natural Therapies

Possibly Effective

  • Selenium is a mineral that is found in many foods. It has antioxidants. Selenium pills may lower the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. A5, A7, A10, A18
  • Soy —may be a link between eating a lot of soy and a lower risk of breast, prostate, and lung cancer. B1, B5, B9- B12

Possibly Not Effective

  • Antioxidants—found naturally in fresh fruits and veggies, as well as other foods. Can also be used in a supplement form. Most common ones are beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Studies have not found clear benefit link. A4, A5, A7, A9, A10, A12, A14
  • Calcium A2, A3, A6, A17, A26
  • Folic Acid —B vitamin that plays a big role in cell spitting. A11, A20, A22, A24
  • Lycopene —an antioxidant found in tomatoes. A16, A24
  • Multivitamins A1, A13, A15
  • Vitamin D A2, A3, A6, A8, A17
  • Vitamin E A5, A7, A9, A10, A14

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any natural therapy you are taking to make sure it does not get in the way of your treatment.

  • Calcium in large amounts can result in bone pain, lack of muscle strength, problems with focus, fatigue, and other health issues.
  • Selenium in large amounts can cause bad problems, such as hair and nail loss, GI and neurological issues, shaking, kidney and heart failure, and other problems.
  • Vitamin C raises iron absorption. Too much iron can be unsafe. Talk to your doctor if you also take iron in pill form. High vitamin C intake may also result in loose stools.
  • Beta-carotene and Vitamin E pills have been linked to a slight raised risk of death. Do not take it in high doses.

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