I have had some feedback from dietitians regarding some questions that came up on the forum. Rachel Bracegirdle and Rachel White are specialist oncology dietitians at Guys and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and they have kindly agreed to sit on our medical advisory board and help with questions that arise. They'll also be giving a talk at our Health and Wellbeing Day in September.
thomas62 Welshandproud Biscuitqueen asked for more information on the oestrogen-like effect of turmeric. I'm so sorry for the time it's taken me to answer this, I was trying to get the information from elsewhere, thankfully Rachel and Rachel have been able to help! Here is their answer:
What evidence (article references) is there for the oestrogenic effects of turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice which has been used in cooking for many years. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Overall research into turmeric and cancer is inconclusive. Some studies suggest a theoretical potential for curcumin to be anti-oestrogenic (1,2), however others have shown that high doses appear to be oestrogenic (3). All of these studies are laboratory studies and therefore don't necessarily represent what will happen in the human body.
There isn't currently enough evidence to recommend taking turmeric supplements. If you decide you want to take a supplement then it is very important to check with your oncology team as there is evidence of interactions with some treatments and medications. It is therefore possible the risks may outweigh any potential benefits.
It is important to remember that turmeric used in cooking is very safe. We would recommend using it in cooking as part of a meal as part of a balanced diet. As turmeric is fat soluble it is better absorbed as part of a meal.
More information on turmeric can be found at:
1. Folwarczna J, Zych M, Treciak HI ‘Effect of Curcumin on the skeletal system in rats.’ (2010) Pharmacol Rep
2. Hallman K, Aleck K, Dwyer B, Lloyd V, Quigley M, Sitto N, Siebart A, Dinda S ‘The effects of turmeric on tumor suppressor protein (p53) and estrogen receptor in breast cancer cells’ (2017) Breast cancer targets and therapy 9: 153-161
3. Murphy CJ, Tang H, Van Kirk EA, Shen Y, Murdoch WJ ‘Reproductive effects of pegylated curcumin’ (2012) Reprod Toxicol 34 (1): 120-4
Secondly, Neona asked about diet to help kidneys damaged by cancer. Rachel and Rachel's response is as follows:
Any dietary recommendations will be dependent on the level of kidney damage. Your oncology team will advise you individually if you need to follow any specific dietary recommendations. If required, a dietitian can support you with individual dietary advice. Hydration is important to keep the kidneys working well, you should be aiming for 2 litres per day (6-8 glasses), unless you have been given specific advice. We recommend following a healthy balanced diet unless there are problems with reduced appetite or unintentional weight loss.
More information on a healthy balanced diet can be found on the World Cancer Research Fund website.
I hope this is helpful. Do get in touch with me if you have any queries.
Ovacome Support Service Manager