I got a question via Wellsphere from Mike in South Carolina regarding curcumin consumption: "I have started taking Curcumin 95% total curcuminolds (rhizome-curcuma longa) (18:1) derived from turmeric . I was wondering if you know anything about whether it is beneficial in the fight against bladder cancer?"
Taken from "Foods to Fight Cancer" by Belivau and Gingras, curcumin as consumed in foods with curry (primarily in India) has been postulated (but not proved in peer-reviewed study) to be a factor in the dramatic difference in the rates of many types of cancer between India and North America/Europe. For men the rate of bladder cancer in India is 1/8 the rate in the USA.
The anti-promotional benefits (meaning it does not prevent cancer triggers, but impedes cancer formation) of curcumin are pretty well studied. It has a well demonstrated anti-inflammatory effect, which is vital for those with cancer tendencies. The link between consumption in pill or food has not been studied as well. In the US we are pre-disposed to isolate and deliver in pill form, such as you are taking. In general, it is not certain whether isolating the pure compound (curcumin in your case) is truly beneficial versus consuming it as food along with potentially beneficial corrolary compounds. In fact, as in the case of soy extracts, it may well be too much of a good thing and potentially harmful.
In the case of curcumin, it may not be so much harmful as a waste of time. Pure curcumin is not readily bio-available (your digestive system does not pass it readily into the bloodstream). But curcumin in curry form adds the synergistic compound piperine, which increases curcumin bioavailability by a factor of 10. Piperine is found in most forms of pepper - always an ingredient in curry mixes.
In summary, for bladder cancer: Curcumin good, taken regularly as a food along with piperine (most commonly in curry) very good, taken as an isolated chemical in a pill - not so much, albeit very convenient.