Skin creams can hit cancer drugs

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Ben Spencer Med­i­cal Correspond­ent

SKIN creams and herbal reme­dies used to ease breast cancer side­ef­fects may in­ter­fere with med­i­cal treat­ment and do more harm than good, doc­tors have warned.

Re­searchers found some com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies used by many pa­tients to re­duce breast cancer’s ef­fects on the body can ac­tu­ally ham­per chemo­ther­apy.

And herbal reme­dies that in­clude turmeric or gin­seng can stop blood from clot­ting as well as it should, which may de­lay heal­ing and lead to worse scar­ring.

In ad­vanced breast cancer, le­sions spread to the skin in as many as a fifth of cases, which are hard to treat and can cause phys­i­cal dis­com­fort and dis­tress. While many pa­tients at­tempt to soothe th­ese with creams and herbal treat­ments, re­searchers from Nova Med­i­cal School in Por­tu­gal said th­ese de­lay wound heal­ing and in­ter­fere with hor­mone ther­apy or chemo­ther­apy.

Pro­fes­sor Maria Joao Car­doso, a breast sur­geon speak­ing at the Ad­vanced Breast Cancer con­fer­ence in Lisbon, said treat­ments in­clud­ing gar­lic and ginger reme­dies are among those that can do pa­tients more harm than good.

She said: ‘Many pa­tients do not check and do not tell their doc­tors that they are us­ing com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies. There are many of th­ese

ther­a­pies, es­pe­cially herbal prod­ucts and creams, that can have a neg­a­tive im­pact in cancer treat­ment.

‘Many com­pounds are com­plex and some in­gre­di­ents can de­lay heal­ing and in­ter­fere with the ef­fi­cacy of sys­temic treat­ments. Lab­o­ra­tory stud­ies have shown that cer­tain prod­ucts can re­duce the blood-clot­ting process re­quired for a wound to heal. If a pa­tient has a bleed­ing wound, th­ese com­pounds can have a strong, ad­verse im­pact on scar­ring.’

The pro­fes­sor said ac­tiv­i­ties such as yoga, acupunc­ture and reiki may help pa­tients man­age stress lev­els.

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