Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Turmeric reduces inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases, including cancer.
Animal and lab studies show that turmeric can help prevent cancer growth and kill certain cancer cells, but we don’t know if it has the same effect in humans.
We need large clinical trials to figure that out, says Jason Dr. Hou of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The research community is on it. Dr. Hou cites a phase 2 study that combined curcumin and conventional chemotherapy to treat people with advanced colorectal cancer.
The researchers found that curcumin is safe and tolerable in these patients, and when combined with conventional chemotherapy, has the potential to improve overall survival (how long someone lives after starting treatment) and progression-free survival — how long someone is on treatment before cancer progresses. Other studies are ongoing.
Turmeric can help with side effects from cancer treatment.
Small studies among people with cancer show that turmeric can help improve quality of life. In one study, people who used a turmeric-based topical cream had reduced skin irritation caused by chemotherapy.
In another, a mouthwash containing curcumin reduced mouth swelling. Turmeric can also help lower pain in some breast cancer patients with joint problems.
“This is encouraging,” Dr. Hou says, adding that similar trials are underway in people with prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer.
In fact, MSK is recruiting cancer survivors with pain in their muscles, bones, and joints for a study of a patch that contains turmeric. If you’re interested in learning more, call 646-888-0844.
MSK’s Integrative Medicine Service offers turmeric and curcumin supplements through its herbal dispensary program, located at MSK’s Breast and Imaging Center. Patients must be referred to the dispensary after being assessed by an MSK Integrative Medicine physician or advanced practice provider … READ MORE.