Bladder cancer is diagnosed in 63,000 people in the US annually. About half the cases are characterized by low-grade, noninvasive tumors; the rest are a more aggressive form of the disease. Blood in the urine is the primary symptom. The mortality rate is 20%. Recent advances in nutritional research aim to reduce the impact of this cancer.
The M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, conducted a literature review for substances effective in preventing bladder cancer in 2006. At that time, they found good results for megadose vitamins, especially A and B6. They found mixed results for vitamins C and E, selenium, soy, green tea and isothiocyanates. Since then, new studies have identified several other dietary products with potential to fight bladder cancer.
Curcumin from turmeric inhibited the growth of bladder cancer cells in mice and in cell cultures in studies at Texas A&M University. Turmeric is widely used as an antioxidant, with a variety of health benefits reported in the medical literature. See http://vrp.com/articles.aspx?ProdID=art820&zTYPE=2
Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil. A Brazilian research team found that EPA kills human bladder cancer cells in the lab. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for overall health. See http://www.empowher.com/media/video/video-dr-dae-omega-3-fatty-acids-what-should-women-know
Magnolia bark is a traditional Chinese medicine used for a variety of symptoms. A Korean research team found that an aqueous extract of Magnolia inhibited growth of bladder cancer cells in mice and in cultures of human bladder cancer.
Frankincense oil also killed bladder cancer cells in laboratory studies. See http://www.empowher.com/news/2009/03/19/frankincense-kills-bladder-cancer-cells-study
In addition to these options, prevention and recovery depend strongly on avoidance of the environmental irritants that promote bladder cancer. Major risk factors include tobacco use (the most significant), industrial chemicals, and chronic inflammation. So there's plenty we can do to protect ourselves.
By Linda Fugate, Ph.D.