Dieneke Ferguson, 67, is becoming famous for fighting off her blood cancer with turmeric - and that's after she had stopped taking the usual treatments. This is the first recorded case of someone using the spice after dropping conventional medicine. Three rounds of chemo and four stem cell transplants couldn't stop her myeloma from spreading. The cancer was causing increasing back pain, and she had already had a second relapse.
That's when she started taking an 8 gram dose of curcumin - one of the main ingredients of turmeric - a day.
Dieneke took the treatment, which she had read about on the internet, as her last resort. The expensive pills go for about $67 for ten days - kitchen turmeric doesn't have nearly enough curcumin to get treated by just consuming the spice. She's taking the pills without any other treatments, and her tests show cancer cell count as negligible.
"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.
The experts state that basically no patients use dietary supplements as an alternative to regular therapy. "In the absence of further antimyeloma treatment the patient plateaued and has remained stable for the past five years with good quality of life."
Curcumin gives turmeric the yellow color and doctors have studied it extensively in the new millennium. They note its anti-proliferative effects in a variety of tumor cells.
"A lot of my patients take curcumin at different stages of their treatment. I don’t object to it," wrote professor Jamie Cavenagh, one of the authors of the paper. "Dieneke’s is the best response I have observed and it is clear-cut because we had stopped all other treatment."