Researchers at the University of Leicester believe that curcumin, one of the components of the popular curry spice turmeric, may significantly reduce the side effects of chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. in bowelA common name for the large and/or small intestines.cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. patients. This would have positive consequences for people receiving chemotherapy for bowel cancer as the treatment could be tolerated for longer resulting in more successful treatments.
Approximately half of bowel cancer patients do not benefit from the chemotherapy medications. The typical course of chemotherapy includes a combination of three medications: FOLinic acid, Fluourouracil, OXaliplatin, known as FOLFOX. The side effects of this treatment include nerveBundle of fibres that carries information in the form of electrical impulses. pain, tingling, tiredness and fatigue, increased risk of infectionInvasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites. and nausea or sickness.
Previous laboratory studies have found a link between the efficiency of chemotherapy in bowel cancer and curcumin. The University of Leicester are beginning a trial with forty patients who have metastasised bowel cancer , 75% of whom will take curcumin supplements prior to the FOLFOX chemotherapy. It is hoped to discover whether curcumin could be an additional treatment for patients with bowel cancer which has spread to other parts of the body.