Then Dieneke started a new treatment — not another high-tech, expensive drug, but a remedy based on something many of us have in our kitchen cupboards.Where all others had failed, this one worked, and five years on, Dieneke’s cancer cell count is negligible. Curcumin, which is a key component of the spice turmeric.After five years of living with cancer and the ravages of side-effects from repeated unsuccessful treatment, Dieneke Ferguson thought she was finally losing the battle.She had a serious relapse and there seemed little hope.
However, the researchers called for larger, more rigorous studies to confirm this.
One of those convinced by curcumin’s potential is Angus Dalgleish, a professor of cancer at St George’s Hospital in South London, who has researched its effect on his patients.
‘Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and chronic inflammation is the precursor of 99 per cent of all cancers,’ he says.‘Taking regular anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin is known to reduce risk of colon cancer by around 30 per cent and have an impact on the incidence of others, too, but lack of funding for research has prevented most from benefiting from curcumin.’However, Karen Brown, a professor of translational cancer research at the University of Leicester, has recently got funding for a small trial.
Dieneke had been diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 2007 and had undergone three rounds of chemotherapy as well as four stem cell transplants.‘I have been on all sorts of toxic drugs and the side-effects were terrifying,’ she says.
‘At one point I lost my memory for three days, and in 2008 two of the vertebrae in my spine collapsed so I couldn’t walk.