Cancer is currently the biggest cause of mortality worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. When you realise that there are over 200 different varieties of cancer and that they can arise in any place of the body, this isn’t unexpected. Cancer is on the rise all around the world, and it begins when normal cells divide and grow incorrectly. Cells in our bodies normally grow and die in a predictable pattern. Cancer cells, on the other hand, continue to grow and divide even when they aren’t intended to, developing tumours. Despite all evidence to the contrary, there is no single cause of cancer. Scientists believe that a number of factors can cause cancer in children and adults.
Even after being a vastly common disease, the treatment centres of cancer are very limited and with slender capacities. The unawareness about the cause and symptoms is so minimal that it has led to an increased number of cases wherein cancer gets detected at the last stage thus becoming life-threatening. Cancer can be cured only if detected at an early stage for which screening is vital. In recent years, studies have shown that food is a very powerful means for maintaining a state of well-being and for disease prevention. The nutrient–organism interaction can develop the balance between health and disease. Nutrients and dietary supplements influence epigenetic processes and drug response. Therefore, these food–host interactions can modify the individual predisposition to disease and its potential therapeutic response.
Nutraceuticals are naturally occurring non-toxic dietary compounds that can offer physiological benefits against chronic diseases. Nutraceuticals derived from dietary or medicinal plants play a fundamental role in preventing cancer and are also believed to have chemopreventive effects. There is a growing body of research that suggests a link between cancer and diet. Specifically, there is evidence that suggests the use of nutraceuticals can play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. The incorporation of nutraceuticals into the diet can help reduce the risk of cancer. It involves the abrogation or delay in the onset of cancer. This is most often used for people who have a high risk of developing cancer. They may have a strong family history or carry an abnormal gene.
Functional foods, Nutraceuticals, and supplemental micronutrients have the potential to reduce cancer cell growth, inhibit cell proliferation and induce cancer cells apoptosis. Many phytochemicals are currently being investigated for their promising anticarcinogenic properties. It has been suggested that a number of dietary supplements like Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, combinations of plant extracts may have chemopreventive effects against cancer. In vitro investigations have shown that some compounds exert their antitumor functions at much higher concentrations. On one hand, the evidence along several lines of treatment has shown that some compounds are preferentially more potent in preventing cancer when administered early in life. On the other hand, the evidence for some of these substances is encouraging, much more research is needed to determine their true potential in cancer prevention.
There are many nutraceuticals and chemoprevention adjunct therapies that have been shown to be effective in the prevention of cancer. Some of these include selenium, green tea, curcuminoid and lycopene. Each of these has shown to have a chemopreventive effect in various cancers and may be a useful addition to standard cancer prevention strategies. More research is needed to determine the most effective doses and combinations of these therapies, but they offer a promising avenue for cancer prevention. The goals of nutrition therapy are to accomplish reverse nutrient deficiencies, preserve lean body mass, help patients tolerate treatments, minimize nutrition-related complications, maintain strength and energy, protect immune function and decrease the risk of infection.
Cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Thus, there is a real need for new efficient anti-cancer drugs with reduced side effects, and plants are a promising source for such entities. Novel utilization of nutraceuticals is a herbal and painless method that can improve the overall quality of life by preventing cancer and increasing the survival rate of patients diagnosed with cancers.