Curcumin and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



CURCUMIN AND COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

Curcumin, which makes up part of the curry spice turmeric, has been extensively studied in the laboratory as a possible cancer prevention supplement.  As with all disease prevention research, though, it is easy to find contradictory research results regarding the potential effectiveness of curcumin in preventing new or recurrent cancers.  More importantly, however, there has been very little research performed in humans with curcumin.

Prior laboratory research, in mice and rats, has suggested that curcumin may decrease the incidence of aberrant crypt foci and adenomatous polyps in the colon and rectum.  These abnormalities are thought to be among the earliest observable changes in the colon and rectum that precede the development of colorectal cancer (although not all patients with these abnormalities of the colon and rectum will actually go on to develop colon or rectal cancer).  Now, a newly published clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research, suggests that dietary supplements of curcumin in humans may also help to prevent precancerous colorectal aberrant crypt foci.

In this small clinical pilot study, 41 smokers were recruited after screening colonoscopy biopsies revealed the presence of aberrant crypt foci.  The patient volunteers participating in this study were given either 2 grams of curcumin per day for 30 days, or 4 grams per day for 30 days.  After this 30-day treatment period, repeat rectal biopsies were performed.

While the patients who received 2 grams of curcumin per day did not show any decrease in the number of aberrant crypt foci within their repeat rectal biopsies, the patients who received 4 grams of curcumin per day experienced a very significant 40 percent reduction in the number of precancerous aberrant crypt foci within the rectum.

While the results of this very small study do not prove that curcumin supplements can directly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in humans, this study does provide tantalizing evidence that curcumin supplements can decrease very early precancerous changes in the cells that colorectal cancer arise from.  Of course, longer term and larger prospective clinical research trials will be necessary to prove that curcumin supplements can directly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.  However, this intriguing little study is an important step in that direction.  (As always, I remind readers to check with their doctor before taking any new dietary supplements or medications.)


For a complete evidence-based discussion regarding a potential role for curcumin in an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

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I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.




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Obesity and Cancer Risk

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


OBESITY AND CANCER RISK

We have become the heaviest people in the history of our species, with two-thirds of Americans officially classified as overweight, and one of every three of us tipping the scales into the “obese” range.  For too many of us, day after day, we load our bodies with more fat- and calorie-packed foods than our bodies can utilize.  Surrounded by effort-saving devices that have drastically reduced the amount of food-derived energy that our bodies can reasonably metabolize, a majority of Americans are becoming progressively heavier and heavier.  Moreover, obesity now affects a shocking percentage of children and adolescents in our society, and it is no longer uncommon to see children and teenagers with obesity-related diseases, previously seen only in adults, like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, gallstones, and cardiovascular disease.

In addition to chronic illnesses that have long been associated with obesity, it has become increasingly clear that the risk of multiple different types of cancer is also increased by obesity.  Now, a newly published public health study, which appears in a forthcoming issue of The Lancet Oncology, underscores the disturbing extent to which excess weight increases our risks of several different common types of cancer.

In this huge public health study, more than 400,000 patient volunteers from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand were followed for an average of 4 years.  When obese study volunteers (BMI of 30 or higher) were compared with volunteers of normal weight (BMI less than 25), the obese volunteers were found to have a 21 percent higher risk of death due to cancer.  The risk of dying of certain specific types of cancer were even higher among the obese volunteers, including a 50 percent increased risk of death due to colon cancer, a 68 percent increased risk of death due to rectal cancer, a 63 percent increased risk of death due to breast cancer (in postmenopausal women), a 162 percent increase in the risk of dying of ovarian cancer, a 321 percent increase in the risk of death due to cancer of the cervix, a 45 percent increase in the risk of death due to prostate cancer, and a 66 percent increase in the risk of dying from leukemia.

The findings of this enormous public health study are worrisome, to say the least, and reflect the very serious impact that obesity has on our risk of developing cancer, and the risk of dying from cancer.

Obesity is a growing public health problem in the United States and, increasingly, around the world; and the list of chronic, major illnesses associated with obesity continues to expand (along with our collective waistlines).  If you are overweight or obese, then please consult with your physician for advice on how best to lose your excess weight.  Meanwhile, sharply reduce your intake of high-calorie and high-fat foods, and begin a responsible and consistent exercise program, under your physician’s supervision. 

 

For a more detailed discussion of the scientific links between obesity and cancer, look for the publication of my new landmark book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in August of this year. 



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Tdv7XW0qg



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 new and returning readers who visit our premier global health information website every month.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.



 

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