I've picked up, from my friends on the Macmillan cancer forum, that there is a trial running in Leicester as to whether or not curcumin - found in turmeric - can increase the efficacy of chemo in bowel cancer cases. The basic details are on Beating Bowel Cancer, Cancer Research and BBC News.
So, do I take supplements or not? Frankly I've found the whole issue of what I should or shouldn't eat to be very unclear. In one place, green tea is the wonder drug; in another it interferes with chemo. The oxaliplatin strips out magnesium and calcium so again supplements seem obvious, but in other places I've seen it suggested that B vitamins can be counter-productive so a multi-vitamin/mineral is out. The only consistent advice seems to be less processed meat and less red meat. And from reading the above on the turmeric it's not clear how much one needs to take and there seem to be some questions around absorption. So I think I will play it safe and stick to taking turmeric in my favourite form - curry. Fortunately I love cooking curry myself so have total control over the spice content. No-one needs the side effects of a heavy hand with the chilli round here!
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who knows more about the turmeric study than I've been able to find out though.