The first Sunday of June each year is marked by National Cancer Survivors Day File picture

The first Sunday of June each year is marked by National Cancer Survivors Day.  As cancer survivors, their families and their communities hold hands around the world, thought must be given to what more can be done to contain the disease and to improve the quality of life of those affected by cancer.

The first Sunday of June each year is marked by National Cancer Survivors Day.  As cancer survivors, their families and their communities hold hands around the world, thought must be given to what more can be done to contain the disease and to improve the quality of life of those affected by cancer.

Today cancer survivors are celebrate personal milestones, recognise those who have supported them and give inspiration to those who have been recently diagnosed.   

In South Africa one out of four people will be affected by cancer in their lifetime through diagnosis of family, friends, colleagues or self.

The ongoing search for effective anticancer agents is imperative.  For example, in recent years, researchers have been exploring the role of trace elements such as zinc, which it is postulated, plays a role in cancer treatment. Dietary deficiencies of zinc can have an effect on DNA that increases the risk of cancer development.  It has also been shown that zinc is depleted in virtually all cases of liver cancer, leading to a link between zinc and cancer treatment. There is further evidence that an imbalance of zinc and copper can be seen in a number of cancers, especially head and neck cancer.

In addition to this evidence regarding the role of zinc depletion in cancer, zinc also plays a role in the treatment of cancer.  According to research, there is a high incidence of zinc deficiency in patients treated with opioids for cancer-related chronic pain. Concern relating to such supplementation should be allayed by the reported low toxicity of orally-administered zinc.

A relatively new range of supplements marketed by the OTC division of Adcock Ingram includes a presentation especially formulated to assist in the maintenance of the essential nutrients that may be depleted as a result of cancer and the treatment thereof. CHEMO-GAP contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin D3, all of which have been shown to be deficient in cancer treatment.