New benefits of turmeric! Ovarian cancer is on the list!

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, regardless of stage, you may benefit from supplementing with curcumin. Curcumin supplementation has shown anti-cancer action in breast, prostate, pancreatic, multiple myeloma and other cancers. The studies below cite the ability of curcumin to both kill both ovarian and cervical cancer cells while enhancing the efficacy of certain chemotherapies.

How can turmeric help?

Turmeric has nearly 20 molecules with antibiotic property, 14 molecules with cancer preventive potential, 12 with anti-tumor effect, says the study conducted by B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital.

Curcumin inhibited inducible NF-kappaB activation and suppressed proliferation in vitro. In vivo dose-finding experiments revealed that 500 mg/kg orally was the optimal dose needed to suppress NF-kappaB and signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 activation and decrease angiogenic cytokine expression.

Drugs that focus on targeting single molecules that are abnormally expressed by ovarian cancer cells can help spare normal cells from damage. Although some of these drugs have been tested, they also come with negative side effects and don’t appear to improve overall survival rates. The lack of suitable, safe therapy for ovarian cancer has led researchers to look to turmeric for its powerful cancer-fighting compounds. According to some, technology that makes turmeric’s curcumin compounds more bioavailable may make curcumin a viable treatment option.

It helps in all three stages of carcinogenesis

Tapaswini Sharma, Senior Consultant (Surgical Oncology) at B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital, said: „Curcumin suppresses all three stages of carcinogenesis: initiation, promotion and progression. It also has a role in neutralizing substances and conditions which lead to cancer”.

Curcumin, on the other hand, when consumed in therapeutic doses, targets several cancer pathways and sensitizes the cancer cells to chemotherapy drugs by increasing the pace of death of the cancer cells.

Turmeric in cancer studies

In a study on ovarian cancer, curcumin suppressed the NF-kappa B pathway to inhibit angiogenesis and thus the tumor growth. It significantly reduced the tumor size, by as much as 55%. It was found that administration of curcumin 6 hours before chemotherapy or radiotherapy enhanced the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

An in-vitro cancer research study reported at the 2007 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research concluded that curcumin-based therapies may be attractive in patients with ovarian carcinoma. An in-vitro study is one in which test tubes are used to conduct studies. Specific cells are targeted, like cancer cells, and studied to see how a drug or nutrient affects the cells.

Two additional in-vitro studies suggest drug resistance in ovarian cancer cells was reduced when chemo and curcumin were given together.  In 2016, curcumin appeared to have a say with ovarian cancer cells on its own – by inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis) in ovarian cancer cells in a dish, while sparing normal cells.

Multiple animal and laboratory studies report curcumin’s anti-cancer properties and usefulness in cancer pain control as well as a possible preventive agent.

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