A high mortality rate is associated with bladder cancer, with over 80,000 (estimated) cases, and over seventeen thousand deaths a year. Curcumin, the turmeric root extract, has positive effects on slowing down tumor advancement.
The Human Bladder – Explained
The bladder is a hollow, flexible, balloon shaped organ situated in the pelvis. Its function is to store urine before removing it from the body. It is important to understand how the bladder is constructed to understand bladder cancer.
The walls of the bladder are made up of four main layers. The innermost layer is composed of cells known as the urothelial or transitional cells, hence it is known as the transitional epithelium layer.
Covering this is a thin layer of connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels. It is followed by a thicker layer of muscle and finally there is the outer most layer made up of fatty connective tissue which isolates the bladder from other organs.
Nine out of ten bladder cancers begin in the transitional epithelium layer. Diagnosed in the early stages, bladder cancer is one the most treatable cancers, however it also keeps reoccurring.
Even with early diagnosis and successful treatment, in roughly fifty present of the cases it returns within five years. While further treatment can allow people to survive for two or three decades, it is a debilitating chronic ailment.
Risk factors for the cancer include smoking, consuming foods like potatoes or breads cooked at high temperatures, exposure to toxins, history of bladder infection or kidney stones and prolonged catheter use.
How Can Curcumin Help With Bladder Cancer?
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is proven to have anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. According to the latest studies, turmeric can help to counteract the risks of bladder cancer in several ways.
It has the potential to cut down on DNA mutations caused by cigarette smoke and acrylamides contained in foods cooked at high temperatures. According to studies conducted at Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University, curcumin hinders cell division by countering the effect of the enzyme Aurora A. This enzyme is required by cancerous cells in transcribing the DNA pattern during cell division.
It also allows cancer causing cells to reproduce quickly in great numbers. If there is no Aurora A, then the cancerous bladder cells can’t multiply so they can’t form tumours or invade nearby tissues.
Since the enzyme is specific for cancer cells, curcumin can’t impede the growth of normal cells. Furthermore, curcumin prevents the creation of free radicals in people exposed to toxins.
It also reduces scar tissue and injury resulting from kidney stone treatment. Lastly curcumin prevents bacteria formation on plastic medical devices implanted in the body which may lead to cancer of the bladder.