Therapeutic benefits of curcumin have been discovered in multiple chronic diseases such as inflammation, obesity, liver disease and numerous cancers. Laboratory and animal research suggests that curcumin may prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage by radiation therapy. Between the years 1983-2018, there have been 4,738 published papers on curcumin and targeted disease around cancer (Giordano, 2019).
Curcumin affects different pathways and molecules involved in the development of several cancers. Its ability to target numerous locations may be the key to its therapeutic potential against cancer for either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Examples of these pathways and molecules curcumin affects against cancer may include:
- Transcription factors
- Growth factors
- Inflammatory cytokines
- Apoptotic proteins
- Protein kinases
- Cell survival/proliferative proteins (Giordano, 2019)
Some evidence suggests turmeric may interfere with certain chemotherapy drugs. This is particularly true of the drugs doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide so if you are undergoing chemotherapy, you should talk to your doctor before using turmeric or curcumin.
Safety, low cost and ample studies of this common natural medicine makes this a promising agent for the treatment of cancer. The longer chronic inflammation persists, the higher risk of cancer development so consider curcumin.
Anand, P., Sundaram, C., Jhurani, S., Kunnumakkara, A.B. & Aggarwal, B.B. (2008). Curcumin and cancer: An “old-age” disease with an “age-old” solution. Cancer Letters, 267 (1) 133-164.
Giordano, A., & Tommonaro, G. (2019). Curcumin and Cancer. Nutrients, 11(10), 2376. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102376