A British pensioner who battled cancer for five years without success may have finally beaten the disease by taking turmeric tablets. Dieneke Ferguson, 67, could be the first known person to recover from cancer using tablets made from the spice, after stopping conventional medical treatments.
Mrs Ferguson, from north London, had three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell transplants in a bid to treat her crippling blood cancer myeloma. But it gave her increased back pain and, after she suffered two relapses, doctors feared for Mrs Ferguson’s life expectancy. However, her plasma cell count is now negligible and she says her quality of life has improved significantly. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell which, with myeloma, become abnormal and multiply uncontrollably.
The pensioner, who runs Hidden Art, a not-for-profit business helping artists market their work, came across the alleged remedy curcumin – one of the main compounds in turmeric.
She took 8g of turmeric tablets every day for years without further treatment, and has now shocked doctors. ‘To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report in which curcumin has demonstrated an objective response in progressive disease in the absence of conventional treatment,’ her doctors, from Barts Health NHS Trust in London, wrote in the British Medical Journal Case Reports. ‘In the absence of further antimyeloma treatment the patient plateaued and has remained stable for the past five years with good quality of life.’
The tablets, which contain a high level of curcumin, cost £50 for 10 days. It would be impossible to treat cancer with regular kitchen turmeric, as it contains just 2% curcumin. Experts already believe turmeric, commonly used in Asian cuisine, can protect against Alzheimer’s, heart disease and depression.
However, it is rarely prescribed as it has not yet been tested in large-scale trials. Mrs Ferguson said: ‘I hope my story will lead to more people finding out about the amazing health benefits of curcumin.’ Myeloma affects some 5,500 people in the UK every year, killing nearly 3,000.