Herbal remedies such as turmeric may interfere with breast cancer treatments

Nov 14, 2019 | | Say something

Herbal remedies such as turmeric, ginseng and garlic may interfere with breast cancer treatments, doctors warn

  • In an advanced stage of breast cancer, the lesions often spread to the skin.
  • Many patients try to calm them with creams and herbal treatments.
  • But Portuguese-based researchers have now said that they delay wound healing.
  • And they warned that they can interfere with hormone therapy or chemotherapy

By Ben Spencer Daily Mail Medical Correspondent


Published: The | Updated:

Skin creams and herbal remedies can interfere with breast cancer treatments, doctors warned.

In an advanced stage of breast cancer, the lesions often spread to the skin, and many patients try to calm them with topical creams and herbal treatments.

But researchers at the Nova School of Medicine in Portugal said they delay wound healing and interfere with hormonal therapy or chemotherapy.

Herbal treatments such as turmeric or ginseng can prevent blood from clotting as it should and worsen the scars, they said.

Turmeric (broth) can prevent blood from clotting as it should and worsen the scars.

Turmeric (broth) can prevent blood from clotting as it should and worsen the scars.

Turmeric (broth) can prevent blood from clotting as it should and worsen the scars.

Professor Maria Joao Cardoso, a breast surgeon who presented at the Advanced Breast Cancer conference in Lisbon, said treatments that include garlic and ginger remedies are among those that can do more harm than good.

While there is a long list of complementary products that patients can try, there is no evidence that they effectively treat skin lesions, he said.

"Many patients do not control and do not tell their doctors that they are using complementary therapies," said Professor Cardoso.

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& # 39; There are many of these therapies, especially herbal products and topical creams, that can have a negative impact on cancer treatment.

& # 39; Many compounds are complex and some ingredients can delay healing and interfere with the effectiveness of ongoing systemic treatments.

& # 39; Laboratory studies have shown that certain products can reduce the blood clotting process required for a wound to heal.

"If a patient has a bleeding wound, these compounds can have a strong adverse impact on healing and how well wound dressings work." In up to a fifth of cases, breast cancer spreads to the skin.

The resulting injuries are difficult to treat and can cause physical discomfort and distress.

Topical treatments, which have become more popular, are only successful in wound healing or control in 50 percent of cases, the professor said.

Activities such as yoga, acupuncture and Reiki can help patients manage their stress, he added.


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the United Kingdom there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease takes the lives of 11,500 women. In the USA In the US, it reaches 266,000 every year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancer cell that develops in the lining of a duct or lobe in one of the breasts.

When breast cancer has spread to the surrounding breast tissue, it is called invasive & # 39; invasive breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with & # 39; carcinoma in situ & # 39 ;, where cancer cells have not grown beyond the duct or lobule.

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Most cases develop in women over 50, but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, although this is rare.

Cancer cells are classified from stage one, which means slow growth, to stage four, which is the most aggressive.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumor begins from an abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is not clear. It is believed that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiplies & # 39; out of control & # 39 ;.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The first usual symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most lumps are not cancerous and are cysts filled with fluid, which are benign.

The first place to which breast cancer usually spreads is in the lymph nodes of the armpit. If this occurs, it will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial evaluation: a doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They can perform tests such as a mammogram, a special x-ray of the breast tissue that may indicate the possibility of tumors.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.
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If it is confirmed that you have breast cancer, more tests may be needed to evaluate if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound of the liver or a chest x-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options that may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatment. A combination of two or more of these treatments is often used.

  • Surgery: breast conservation surgery or removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumor.
  • Radiation therapy: a treatment that uses high-energy radiation beams focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells or prevents cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: a cancer treatment by using anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells or prevent them from multiplying
  • Hormonal treatments: some types of breast cancer are affected by the hormone estrogen & # 39; female & # 39 ;, which can stimulate cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments that reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is the treatment?

The prognosis is better in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumor at an early stage may give a good chance of cure.

Routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means that more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information, visit breastcancercare.org.uk or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

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