Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Hot new cure for cancer?

Which would you prefer: months of painful chemotherapy with baldness, vomiting, bouts of diarrhoea, as well as feeling about as good looking as Ed Balls; or would you rather have a nice black pepper goat curry with a side order of onion bhaji, fresh naan bread and basmati rice?

I only ask as I’ve just been reading a report that turmeric, widely used in curries, appears to be a wonder drug when it comes to curing oesophageal cancer. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which has long been thought to harbour healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia; which sounds fine, as long as those with dementia remember to take it.

A team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre has shown that turmeric can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which can start to kill cancer cells responsible for oesophageal cancer within 24 hours. The cancer cells start digesting themselves once the curcumin sends messages to the cancer cells to begin killing themselves off.

This is particularly good news since oesophageal cancer kills around 7,800 people in the UK each year and the rates have doubled over the past 30 years. Obesity and alcohol appear to be the prime suspects for the increase so the bad news is that you probably won't be able to have a nice ice-cold bottle of Cobra with your curry.

For the top 20 best recipes using turmeric, click here.


  1. those recipes made me bloody hungry - and dinner is still a good 40 minutes away!!

    You shouldn't torture yourself like that - you should look up recipes for boiled cabbage and roll mops instead!


  2. Great to hear about the food - but I'm wondering how you are travelling? I would have gone insane being "tied down" for so long.

    When are you going to be allowed to escape?

    Sorry to pry - just wondering!
    Kate (Australia)

  3. Travelling? Not sure I understand. The truth is haven't left this bed for eight weeks. If I have to go for an x-ray or operations then they just wheel my traction bed and do what they need to do in situ. Can't wait to jave a shower or move around the house. Most of all I dream of sleeping on my side or maybe going out for a meal.

  4. I love curries and spicy food, especially when I am not feeling well with a cold... makes your nose clear for at least 30 seconds....xx

    TM , your day will come when you will be able to have a shower and you will look back on your time and be able to laugh at your antics.. xx

  5. I think there is a case for determining whether curry is an effective preventative as well as a cure. Do you think I could volunteer to do the tests?

    Looking forward to the seeing the pictures of today's NHS curry, now you've tempted fate...

  6. TM as i am writing this my husband is undergoing chemotherapy for oesophagal cancer. I looked at the recipes you posted but unfortunately he is having trouble eating any solid food, but will bookmark hoping that soon he will be able to eat 'proper food'. He too takes the Ensure dinks, thank gooness for them. Addicted to your blog, fingers crossed all goes well for your in the next couple of weeks .

  7. We order in from our best Indian Restaurant in the city (Philadelphia, PA) once a week. At times I sneak in a second order! I LOVE Naan, Indian Shrimp Curry and Chick Pea Curry!!!

    Yumyumyumyumyum! Yum!

  8. An Australian expat here. "How are you travelling?" means something like:"How are you faring/coping emotionally?"

  9. Anonymous 12:27. Please send my best wishes to your husband. My grandmother had oesophagal cancer and eating was a problem. Maybe some purréed curry with extra turmeric might help. Anything must be worth a try. I'm sure all the posters on this blog send their best wishes to you both. All the best... TM

  10. Travelling: I'm coping and keeping my pecker up :-) I really hope to be out within four weeks. I'm ready to go home. I've been in hospital for about 200 days this year. That's about enough for me.

  11. Traction Man said...

    Travelling: I'm coping and keeping my pecker up :-)

    LOL TM, in Au if you say I am keeping my Pecker up it means you have an erection, I am still laughing at this....

  12. So glad I am multi-lingual and understood all sides of this exchange.LOL.
    It is quite funny when you read it literally LOL
    Get well.1 day in the hospital is more than enough let alone more than 200.
    Light,Love and healing to you

  13. Haha!!! That cracked me up too!! (I'm from Brisbane). TM, is that what you meant to imply?

  14. Just to add - my husband (who also reads your blog) commented that he's glad your nurses are looking after you!

  15. I have a friend in his mid-40s who has just finished his final round of chemo for oesophageal cancer (it doesn't look good). He's from Yorkshire and plays bass so curries have been a major part of his diet for many years, sadly I don't think they've helped...

  16. To paraphrase Winston Churchill... Australia and the UK are two countries divided by a common language. As for my pecker, I strongly suspect the nurses are adding bromide to the tea. That's why we get hot drinks seven times a day. Anyway, I've heard that some people get turned on by being tied to a bed but that's clearly not the case here. Trust me!

  17. Mr PS loves cooking up a curry. We have it once or twice a week, plus his own recipe of spicy potatoes which we have a couple of times a week with roast chicken or pork chops. As well as tumeric, onions, chillies and garlic are good for keeping healthy (but not for being popular with friends and colleagues!)

  18. Well, I believe the nurse (together with the stewardess) is the ultimate male fantasy, hence the bromide? Anyway, after 200 days any in-hospital attraction would pale compared to the prospect of getting out and re-joining the real world on your own two feet (or crutches)

  19. Not this old story again, repeated every few years.

    Fairy Liquid will kill off tumour cells in a Petrie dish.

    Using turmeric to prevent cancer - you'd have to eat a 100g of the stuff daily and would probably increase your chances of dying of other types of cancer taking that sort of dose.

    As usual, no mention of randomised, blind trials, peer-reviews, etc. I.E. science. Just "oh look, we can kill cancer cells in the lab by squeezing x,y or z" (take your pick) into them"

    This gets regurgitated every few years in the press by folk who ken eff all about how science works.

  20. To be fair, John, journalists rely on press releases from, in this case, The Cork Cancer Research Centre. Now, if you're saying they're recycling these press releases every couple of years just to drum up more funds, then that's a fairly serious accusation and could undermine people's willingness to donate to cancer charities that carry out research. I'll try to look at this in more depth to see why they would have issued an old press release if they haven't made further progress. In this case I believe it was the results of successful tests on mice... so I wouldn't write the story off just yet.

  21. Hi Traction man, I'd suggest having a wee browse at

    And at Ben Goldacre's site - an article from 2003 - I'd recommend his book, by the way! -

    Hope the morphine's doing the job.

    Yours sincerely,

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