Breast Cancer Facts
1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. On average every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the US. This year alone an estimated 42,170 women in America will die from this disease (National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.).
The good news? Death rates from breast cancer are going down thanks to better screening, early detection, increased awareness, and better treatment options.
Will curcumin play an important role in the prevention or treatment of breast cancer?
What is Curcumin Turmeric?
Curcumin is the main active compound found within turmeric, an edible root packed full of healing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric is a common ingredient in Asian diets and has been used in India for thousands of years for its flavor, color, and amazing health benefits. It’s the spice used to color and flavor mustards, cheeses, and butter. The curcumin in turmeric is what offers medicinal benefits.
Curcumin & Inflammation
One of the most well-known benefits of curcumin is its strong anti-inflammatory properties that fight inflammation on the molecular level. The benefits are often comparable to those offered by anti-inflammatory drugs, without the negative side effects. As inflammation appears to play a role in cancer, curcumin is being researched as a cancer treatment.
Curcumin and Cancer
While much research still needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of curcumin in preventing or treating cancer, initial studies have shown curcumin to affect cancer growth, development, and spread. It reduces the growth of new blood cells in tumors which slows the spread of cancer and contributes to the death of cancerous cells.
An article from the Mayo Clinic reports that laboratory and animal research indicate that curcumin may not only prevent and slow the spread of cancer but also make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage during radiation therapy.
Studies of curcumin in people are being conducted to research curcumin’s effect as a cancer treatment, use in prevention of cancerous conditions, and to assist with symptoms caused by other cancer treatments.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Experts suggest breast cancer prevention should include:
Keeping weight in check – Being overweight increases the risk of many different cancers, including breast cancer.
Eating Fruits & Vegetables – Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Limiting alcohol consumption – Siteman Cancer Center suggests even low levels of alcohol intake can increase the risk of breast cancer. They suggest no more than a drink a day.
Avoiding smoking – It is commonly understood now that smoking is bad for our health. Not only does it increase the risk of heart disease and stroke but also increases the likelihood of 15 different kinds of cancer, including breast cancer.
Exercise – Just 30 minutes of exercise a day offers a lower risk of breast cancer. Plus it helps keep the weight under control.
Breastfeeding – Women who breastfeed for at least one year or more (during their lifetime) have a lower risk of breast cancer. Breastfeeding also offers health advantages for the child.
Getting screened – Breast cancer screening saves lives. It detects cancer in the early stages, when treatment is more effective. Most women should begin regular mammograms at age 40 but it is important to visit with a doctor as family history may also play a factor in screening recommendations.
Warning signs for breast cancer
The American Cancer Society warns that possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- New lumps or masses in the breast
- Swelling of all or part of a breast
- Skin dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple discharge
- Skin on the nipple or breast that is thick, red, dry, or flaking
- Nipple retraction
- Swollen Lymph nodes
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit with a health care professional right away.
While it is important to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, screening is the very best prevention. Mammograms and other tests can locate breast cancer before any symptoms are present and early detection provides better success in treatment.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the United States during their lifetime. It is important to watch for symptoms and take prevention steps. One of the most important prevention steps is regular screening. Studies also indicate that curcumin turmeric has great potential in preventing and treating cancer.
8 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer. (2017, November 07). Retrieved from https://siteman.wustl.edu/prevention/take-proactive-control/8-ways-to-prevent-breast-cancer/
Breast Cancer Facts. (2020, August 26). Retrieved from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms: Most Common Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/breast-cancer-signs-and-symptoms.html
Curcumin: Can it slow cancer growth? (2020, March 11). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-answers/curcumin/faq-20057858
Super Ingredient Series: Turmeric. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://effectivenaturalproducts.com/blogs/healthy-living/super-ingredient-series-turmeric
Top 12 Health Benefits of Curcumin. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://effectivenaturalproducts.com/blogs/healthy-living/top-12-health-benefits-of-curcumin