The part of the digestive system situated above the anus which temporarily stores waste food material (called faeces) is known as the rectum.
It helps the faeces to pass through anus easily by lubricating its passage with the help of mucus.
When malignant cancer cells are formed in rectal tissues, the condition is termed as Rectal Cancer.
Some of the symptoms of rectal cancer are bleeding from anus, diarrhoea, constipation, unusual shape of stools, feeling that bowel is never empty, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness etc.
There are 4 stages of Rectal Cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment can cure the disease but it becomes difficult to treat it completely at later stages.
Turmeric Treatment in Addition to Standard Therapies
Turmeric, obtained from the plant Curcuma longa, native to the Indian subcontinent, also known as ‘The Indian Saffron”, is widely used as a spice in Indian, Chinese and Asian cuisines for its beautiful color, flavor and aroma.
Its use is not only limited to culinary. It has also been used as a therapeutic for a large number of diseases since time immemorial.
It is well known now that Curcumin, the polyphenolic compound of turmeric, is responsible for its color and most of its medicinal properties.
It is capable of inhibiting tumor cell growth without affecting normal cells. It activates the cell death pathways and induces apoptosis.
However, little is known about curcumin’s effects in patients going through Cancer treatment.
A research was performed to study the effects of curcumin in rectal cancer patients already receiving Capecitabine and radiation therapy for their treatment.
The research involved 22 patients out of which 15 were given Curcumin capsules and 7 were given placebo capsules.
For 6 weeks, they were administered with these capsules along with oral Capecitabine (2 times a day) and radiation therapy and then after 6 weeks, they underwent surgery.
They were assessed at baseline, after every week and prior to surgery on hematological and biochemical parameters. Evaluation of pathological Complete Response (pCR) was done at the time of surgery.
It was found that concentration of curcumin in the blood serum before and after one hour of curcumin consumption was approximately the same in both groups in the second week of chemo-radiation therapy.
pCR, hematological and biochemical studies showed similar results in both curcumin and placebo groups. Acute toxicity was not commonly observed in either group.
Thus, it can be inferred that Curcumin, and hence, Turmeric has the potential of inhibiting tumour growth but does not significantly produce any improvements in patients undergoing chemoradiation therapy for cancer treatment.
One of the possible reasons can be low bioavailability of curcumin as it is poorly absorbed and rapidly metabolized and eliminated in human beings.
This problem can be overcome by using liposomal curcumin, curcumin nanoparticles, curcumin phospholipid complex or structural analogues of curcumin.
We can also use piperine (obtained from black pepper) in addition to curcumin for better results.
If the bioavailability of curcumin is successfully increased, then turmeric can prove out to be a wonder medicine capable of curing most of the diseases. It will be able to enhance the efficiency of standard treatments in treating diseases like Cancer.