Cancer tumors develop when cancerous cells multiply and form malignant masses of tissue. Many times these cancerous cells break away from their original mass of cells, travel through your bloodstream and lymph nodes, and implant in various organs where they form additional cancer tumors. The exact cause of cancer tumors is unknown, but toxins, pollutants, metals, radiation, pathogens and genetics appear to contribute to this condition. Treatment typically consists of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but some vitamins may help slow the progression of cancer and shrink cancer tumors.
Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, aids in red blood cell formation, inhibits tumor growth and helps your body produce amino acids, organic compounds that help fight off infections and diseases. Vitamin B-12 also lowers your risk of lung, breast and cervical cancer, according to Deborah Gordon, M.D., author of “Breast Health the Natural Way: The Women's Natural Health Series.” Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include beef liver, yogurt, tuna, eggs, ham, sirloin beef, ready-to-eat cereals, trout, chicken and milk.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that strengthens your immune system and protects your body from infections, toxins, pollutants, viruses and diseases that can cause malignant tumors, according to Michael Zimmermann, M.D., author of “Burgerstein's Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease.” Dr. Zimmermann adds that vitamin C accelerates the healing process; aids in cellular reproduction; transports oxygen and blood to your organs; prevents genetic mutations that can lead to cancer tumors; reduces the size of cancer tumors; improves the effectiveness of some cancer drugs; and lowers your risk of oral, colon, stomach and lung cancers. Foods rich in vitamin C include baked potatoes, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, cranberries, tomatoes, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin D aids in cellular repair, slows the progression of cancerous cells, shrinks cancer tumors, decreases cellular inflammation, reduces your risk of reoccurring tumors and helps maintain blood calcium and phosphorus levels needed to repair your body, according to Harold Silverman, M.D., author of “The Vitamin Book.” Dr. Silverman adds that vitamin D lowers your risk of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. Foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, fortified margarine, eggs, ready-to-eat cereals, tuna fish, milk, Swiss cheese, beef liver and sardines.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that improves immune system function and protects your body from genetic mutations that can trigger cancer tumors, according to the Institute of Medicine in their 2000 consensus report, “Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids.” The institute adds that vitamin E prevents cancerous cells from spreading; reduces the size of cancer tumors; and lowers your risk of bladder, breast and prostate cancer. Foods rich in vitamin E include kiwifruit, tomatoes, spinach, peanuts, broccoli, wheat germ and safflower oil.
Zinc is a mineral that enhances immune system function and protects your body from damaging free radicals, according to Steve Blake, Sc.D., author of “Vitamins and Minerals Demystified.” Dr. Blake adds that zinc blocks genetic mutations that can contribute to cancer growth and tumor development and lowers your risk of reproductive cancers. Foods rich in zinc include wheat germ, veal liver, roast beef, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oysters, peanuts, dark chocolate and lamb.
- “Burgerstein's Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease”; Michael Zimmermann, M.D.; 2001
- “Breast Health the Natural Way: The Women's Natural Health Series”; Deborah Gordon, M.D.; 2001
- “Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids”; Institute of Medicine; 2000
- “The Vitamin Book”; Harold M. Silverman, M.D.; 1999
- “Childhood Cancer: A Parent's Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers”; Honna Janes Hodder, Ph.D.; 2002