I am being treated for bladder cancer. I have heard that vitamins that might help me reduce my risk of recurrence. Do you know anything about this?
Dr. Donald Lamm, formerly at West Virginia University Medical School, Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale, and now with a private practice in Phoenix, AZ (www.bcgoncology.com), has conducted studies using a high antioxidant vitamin and mineral formula designed especially for bladder cancer patients undergoing BCG treatments. He did a double-blind clinical trial in bladder cancer patients receiving intravesical BCG immunotherapy. One group received high doses of vitamin A, B6, C and E and zinc in addition to the RDA for multi-vitamins. The other group received an RDA multi-vitamin with their BCG therapy. At 5 years, the overall recurrence was 24 of 30 patients (80%) in the RDA arm and 14 of 35 (40%) in the high dose arm (p = 0.0011). (1)
At the end of 5 years, the control patients were switched to the high dose vitamin-mineral formula. Since that time, only one additional patient in the high-dose group has had a recurrence at 99 months (2).
Mission Pharmacal, Dr. Lamm has developed a product called Oncovite,
The dose used in the study was two tablets twice a day, but for those people weighing less than 100 # it was only three tablets per day. Before you consider using this product on your own, it is critical that you consult with your physician or oncologist to assess if this product might be beneficial for you. The high dose of vitamin A can cause problems and liver function tests should be done yearly when on the full dose of Oncovite. Women who may become pregnant should NOT take Oncovite because of an increased risk of birth defects with high intakes of pre-formed Vitamin A. (Information provided by Donald Lamm, MD) High doses of pre-formed vitamin A have also been associated with increased risk of hip fractures (read my information about this risk ).
For those patients with a recent bladder cancer diagnosis, I highly recommend that you investigate the possibility of participating in Dr. Lamm's most recent clinical trial. He is currently recruiting bladder cancer patients around the country to further test if Oncovite vs. a one-a-day type of multivitamin will optimize either BCG or BCG plus Interferon (Intron A) therapy for bladder cancer.
Entry criteria into the study include the following:
Click here for more information about where the doctors and various study sites are located around the country. You may call the doctor or call/Email the study site coordinator asking if you will qualify to participate in this very important research project.
This is exactly the type of research that needs to be done for each type of cancer. Proceeds from the sale of my books are donated to The Diana Dyer Cancer Survivors' Nutrition and Cancer Research Endowment at the American Institute for Cancer Research. I help to fund research projects that focus on nutrition strategies after a cancer diagnosis in order to optimize the odds for long-term survival.
In the meantime, Dr. Lamm recommends (2) that his bladder cancer patients consume lots of fruits and vegetables, water and other liquids (green tea may be especially helpful), garlic, and have no tobacco exposure - all suggestions that fit completely with the recommendations in my book.
I highly recommend that you ask for a referral to the Registered Dietitian (RD) at your local cancer center for further information and assessment of your individualized nutritional questions. In addition, it is very important that you discuss all the vitamins, minerals, herbs, dietary supplements, and other complementary therapies you may be choosing to consume or do with your oncologist. This conversation is important so that (1) there is an opportunity for discussion about possible interactions with your cancer therapy, and (2) all these therapies are in your medical record in case you have any unusual side effects or complications in the future.
2. Personal communication with D. Lamm, MD (June 19, 2002)
posted 8/02, updated 11/05
These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.
P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI 48113