“You MUST take curcumin!”

This morning Stefano and I accompanied my father-in-law to his appointment with the new oncologist, Dr. P. I must say, I was very favourably impressed by him…his manner, his approach, his sense of humour. Indeed, it was like meeting with a knowledgeable old friend, not with a specialist, which is how it should always be…but, unfortunately, most often is not…

My father-in-law had told me that Dr. P. didn’t use chemo or radiation, which seemed strange to me at the time, but that is what I reported here on the blog. Well, as it turns out, my father-in-law had misunderstood. This specialist is going to administer a chemo drug called fotemustine to my father-in-law…starting next week. Dr. P. said that fotemustine is very well tolerated and was very optimistic about the outcome, since the nodules on my father-in-law’s lungs are very small. I have more research to do…(incidentally, if anyone has experience with this drug, please get in touch with me or leave a comment here, thank you!)

Anyway, as soon as Dr. P. finished speaking, I began my spiel about curcumin and EGCG (and a few other things, including IP6 and boswellic acid). I handed over all the studies that I had found and was surprised to discover that Dr. P. had read almost all of them. But he really caught me off guard when he mentioned that a colleague of his is currently doing an in vivo study on curcumin and melanoma right there…in their hospital lab. And, he added, the results of this study are very promising. You could have knocked me over with a puffin feather! He then turned to my father-in-law and told him that he must take curcumin AND drink green tea while he does chemotherapy. Whoa…talk about unexpected! I was definitely not prepared for such a positive reaction…

Well, I don’t know what will happen…nobody does…but I hope to be playing cards with my father-in-law for many years to come…


  1. Interesting, I have never taken curcumin. But during all my chemo for MM and auto transplant…I drank green tea….and still do everyday. No detectable myeloma. Did the doc say a special kind of green tea or curcumin source to use?

  2. Margaret,
    Thanks for the great post. Just a quick note regarding my own experience with curcumin – In October 2009 I was diagnosed with MGUS with M-spike too small to quantitate but elevated IGM. The oncologist advised me to get retested in 3 months but said that at this time there was no medical teatment for the condition. I tried to read up on everything MGUS and came across your blog and the references to curcumin. I told the doctor that I wanted to start taking curcumin daily and she said it couldn’t hurt. When I went for retesting in January the doctor said my numbers were stable, and the IGM had improved. I will now get retested in 6 months and will continue taking curcumin. Thanks again, Karen

  3. Dear Margaret, I have been reading your blog for about one year; this is one of the best medical blogs out there. First of all, your father-in-law should be taking very large doses of vitamin D (greater that 20,000 i.u./day) Anything up to 10,000/day is quite safe, but since he has cancer a higher dose is warranted. Rienhold Vieth has published many papers on toxicty etc. of vitamin D. I came accross some very promising research several years ago on betulinic acid and melanoma when I was researching melanoma. As far as I know nothing has come of it but betulinic acid seems to be toxic to melanoma cells. I am also a believer in IV vitamin C, which is toxic to cancer cells. One has to be careful when administering IV vitamin C because if given in too high an initial dose can cause a massive die-off of cancer cells and kill the patient. Also if your father-in-law like broccoli, he will most likely like broccoli sprouts which contain very high levels of isothiocyanates which may help. Geoff

  4. It’s so encouraging about the Curcumin. I recall hearing about it a long time ago from a friend..then I read about it on here. I bought some and then that grouchy yucky oncologist I used to go to didn’t want me taking it because she said she didn’t want it intering with my lab work and treatment I was on. At the time I was on Revlimid. I’m not on any treatment now, my numbers are low enough. The Rev I had expired so I threw it away….all that $ & Curcumin down the drain.

  5. I’m surprised that he said to have green tea at the same time as chemo meds. The green tea counteracts the chemo drug! The chemo is a toxin, and the greent tea is an antitoxin. We were told not to have them at the same time!

  6. Jane: no mention of specific brands or sources (just as well…that would have made me suspicious!).
    Cindy: in June 2009 a study showed that EGCG should not be taken together with Velcade…in November 2009 a study came out with opposite results (I am working on a post about that right now).
    In vitro tests show that EGCG enhances the anticancer activity of other drugs, e.g. doxorubicin, but there is not much “human” data. That is why I specifically asked my FIL’s oncologist if it would be okay for him to drink green tea while taking that specific drug. The specialist answerd “sure, no problem.”
    But my main goal is to get my FIL to take curcumin. I have more faith in that substance, having tested it on myself for more than 4 years now. He began taking it yesterday.
    And he has always loved eating broccoli, garlic and onions, so we are way ahead in terms of diet!
    Thanks everyone! 🙂

  7. Reading this blog prompted me to see what was being said about curcumin and bladder cancer. I am a stage 3 bladder cancer survivor. As part of my bladder cancer treatment I had four courses of chemotherapy with cisplatin/gemcitabine. Granted I have just started to look at the research on curcumin, but was startled to see experts stating that the inhibitory properties of curcumin were stronger on bladder cancer cells than cisplatin. I will be strongly considering adding curcumin to my day.

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