Topical Application of Turmeric Curcumin for Cancer

Researchers showed that those at high risk for colon cancer could reverse the progression of their disease by taking curcumin, the yellow pigment in the spices turmeric and curry powder, cutting down on precancerous lesions, and even pre-precancerous lesions. Are there other high-risk lesions we can try spicing up?

How about giving turmeric extracts to people who just had bladder cancer taken out, or who have an early stage of squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer caused by arsenic exposure, or early stage cervical cancer, or precancerous lesions in the mouth or the stomach? In about a quarter of the patients, the lesions started to get better. One out of the two bladder cancer survivors, two out of seven precancerous mouth lesions, one out of six precancerous stomach lesions, one out of four early stage cervical cancer cases and two out of six early stage skin cancer, all without any noticeable side-effects.

One of the reasons it may work in some cancers better than others or some people better than others is differences in bioavailability. Mega doses were given and just a tiny amount ended up in the bloodstream. If you’re treating skin cancer though, why not just put the curcumin directly on the skin?

I’ve talked about what turmeric compounds can do to cancer cells in a petri dish. Here’s some before and after pictures (see video). These are cervical cancer cells in a petri dish with more and more curcumin. Normal cells are unharmed, but cancer cell are laid to waste. Yeah, but to make it to the cervix, curcumin must be absorbed, unless a vaginal cream was invented.

A variety of delivery methods have now been devised, besides intravaginal, there’s also oral, intra-abdominal, intramuscular, and under-the-skin injections. Straight into the veins, or the arteries, on the skin, up the bladder, in the nose, breathed in like an inhaler, up where the sun don’t shine, or straight into the spinal column, bone marrow, the tumor itself or implanted somehow.

Taken orally some of it actually gets into the tissues. You can measure the amount of curcumin absorbed into the wall of the intestine by examining biopsies and surgical specimens taken after a curcumin regimen. It makes sense to take turmeric orally to treat colon cancer, but if we have cancer erupting on our skin why not just rub it on directly?

Note: For accessible cancers such as skin, mouth, and vulva, the spice turmeric can be applied in an ointment. There’s an image of ulcerating breast cancer from 3:03 to 3:09 that viewers may find disturbing.

Video: Topical Application of Turmeric Curcumin For Cancer

That’s what these researchers did, turmeric and curcumin as topical agents in cancer therapy. They just took some turmeric from the store made a tincture out of it, dried it and put it in Vaseline, and then had cancer patients rub it on their cancer three times a day. What kind of cancer can you get at with a finger? These were folks with cancers of the mouth, breast, skin, vulva, and elsewhere. Isn’t breast cancer under the skin? Not always. Advanced breast cancer can ulcerate right through the skin. These were all people with recurrent ulcerating tumors that had failed to respond to surgery, radiation, and chemo. And these open cancers can stink and itch and ooze. There was nothing else modern medicine had to offer. So let’s rub on some turmeric ointment and see what happens. It produced remarkable relief. A reduction in smell was noted in 90% of the cases even in extensively ulcerated cases of breast cancer, and a reduction in itching in almost all cases as well. For example relieving the severe itching in two of the vulva cancer patients.

Most of the lesions dried up and in many cases this relief lasted for months, all from just rubbing on the harmless spice turmeric, which they describe as an indigenous drug, highly effective in reducing smell, itching and exudate. The effect of this so-called drug is remarkable. And that drug is just some edible spice used in curries for centuries.

For more information be sure to check out my latest videos including this one Topical Application of Turmeric Curcumin For Cancer on

In health,


Dr. Michael Greger

Dr. Greger is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. He is also the founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He is a physician, author and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Colbert Report,” and was an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in the “meat defamation” trial. He is the author of the international bestseller “How Not To Die.” Currently, Dr. Greger serves on the advisory board for The Only Vegan At The Table and the North Texas Community Health Initiative. He is also the founder of, a science-based nutrition information website with hundreds of videos available for free. “Mondays With Michael” is a weekly column featuring the latest in science-based nutrition information.