Bowel (colon and rectum) cancer

A support group for anyone affected by colon, rectal or small bowel cancer to come together, share experiences and ask questions.

Vitamins whilst having chemo?

Posted by

I'm going to have Capecitabine  in a couple of weeks. My hair is very fine and already feels thin from having surgery. I read that we have to be careful taking supplements whilst having chemo. Had anyone taken anything that is ok to have? I want something for my son hair and nails and to perk me up a bit. Thanks.

Posted by

I think this is something you should ask your oncologist or nurse practitioner about.  When I saw the oncologist I had to take a list of all medicines I was on so they could ascertain if there would be any conflict between the various medicines and the chemo tablets.  I suppose the same would apply for supplements.  

After surgery on the nurse practitioners advice I used E45 cream on my scar once the dressing had been removed and Oveeno on feet and hands.  I do this morning and evening.  I have now finished chemo tabs and just been told that recent CT scan shows I'm now OK but I am not to dye or perm my hair for next six months as it will take this time at least for the hair follicles to strengthen.  I have noticed that my despite having lost partial fingerprints, which I am told will come back, my nails are a lot stronger and less brittle than they were beforethe chemo treatment presumably because of using the cream.

I am lucky I had a thick head of hair but it has thinned considerably particularly over the last two treatments of chemo tabs so I can understand your concern.  I have decided to leave things and see how I go.

Good luck with your endeavours.

Posted by

It is good advice to ask the oncologist.

It general terms though I can speak from experience and say that eating hearty food is better than 'healthy' food. Your body needs to have the fuel to repair itself from the damage being done by the chemo.

Also, the best thing to perk you up during chemo is exercise. This really did help me with avoiding most of the side effects. It also helped me to fight off fatigue.


Age 57 when diagnosed. Symptom of blood in stools May 2011. Colonoscopy June 2011 confirmed rectal cancer. CT scan June 2011 showed no spread to other organs.

Open surgery for anterior resection July 2011 plus 50% bowel removed due to thickening observed during operation. Biopsy confirmed stage 2 in rectum only. No temporary bag. Underwent 6 months precautionary capecitabine (Xeloda). Returned to horse riding 6 weeks post op, jumping after 8 weeks and first competition 10 weeks after operation. 1 year and 3 year post op CT scans clear. Colonoscopy 3 years post op also clear. 2017 - 6 year CT scan clear.

Posted by

Hi there, I have Stage 4 Colon Cancer and I take 2 high strength Omega 3 tablets and 1 Vitamin D3 tablet each day. I checked with my consultant first and she said these were fine to take with any other medicine’s I’m taking.

Hope that helps!

Posted by

My consultant said I could take a multi vitamin but not iron.   My white blood cell count was borderline low for my 5th cycle and I've been reading up what to take to try and boost it.   My next cycle will be 13 days after the previous one so I only have til next Mon when I have blood test to try and boost it else there might be a delay.

Crazy thing is this cycle (so far) apart from tiredness (4 nights hardly any sleep in hospital) I so far feel fine :)  I digress.  Sorry.

Lynne x

Posted by

I have been taking multi vitamin pills that do not contain iron and castor oil tablets.  I personally wouldn't take anything to try and boost my white blood cell count unless the medics gave it the OK.  My last white blood cell was a little higher than it should be and it was thought that this was because I was incubating a cold which turned out to be true as I came down with one the following day.  The medics know things about blood count that we as layman we don't.  I wouldn't want to take something that might cover up what was happening with my white blood count.

I was unable to sleep in hospital and thought that would change once I got home it hasn't but I am now hoping that once I get out and about and use up more energy this will change.  Exercise is at the top of my list to help get fitter.  Funny now I've finished chemo tabs even though I never have a full nights sleep I don't feel tired anymore and thankfully I am not having to take anymore naps.  I definitely suffered from chemo fatigue but was determined not to let it get to me as I just saw it as one of the side effects of the tablets and would rest when I needed to and disconnect the phone.  Maybe this was where I was lucky living by myself and just able to do what I felt like without having to give explanations to others.

I am glad that you seem to be doing so well and just go with the flow.  As was pointed out to me remember you have had a very serious operation and you need to be kind to yourself.