Could the spice curcumin (derived from turmeric) actually help control the side effects of radiation treatment in prostate cancer patients? A trial recently discussed in the Journal of Cancer Science & Therapeutics draws that link, particularly in assisting urinary function and frequency. Radiation is commonly used to combat many forms of cancer, including prostate. It is designed to primarily kill or perhaps limit the growth of cancerous cells. However, in the process, there can be some side effects, especially in urinary function. This can be not only a serious side effect, but one that compromises quality of life.
The study involved 40 male subjects who were undergoing radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Some received three grams per day of curcumin one week before radiation therapy and continued throughout treatment while others received placebos. Subjects then had to fill out questionnaires three months post treatment.
Researchers with Beheshti University of Medical Sciences noted that those who received placebo experienced “significantly worse” urinary function three months after treatment than those receiving curcumin and in fact, subjects receiving curcmin had much milder effects. They further noted that, “curcumin has been shown to confer a radioprotective effect via a decrease in the expression of genes that promote inflammation and fibrosis.
The compound also scavenges free radicals, inhibits lipid peroxidation and increases endogenous antioxidants. Additionally, it may help reduce the risk of secondary cancers caused by radiation.” The takeaway from this study for me is that although more study is needed to draw a more conclusive link, it does raise the fact that those undergoing radiation do have options to help mitigate side effects and that your diet can help control them.
It is important for all cancer patients to ask their physicians what diet may be most helpful during and after treatment for the best quality of life.
Interested in reading more? Check out A List of Top 5 Foods for Colon Health