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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Spice of Life: Curcumin and Dog Cancer

Updated: August 5th, 2019

In researching topics for expanded treatments of dog cancer, I have discovered surprises aplenty.

Because of the desire for options beyond surgery, chemo and radiation for dog cancer, I chose to look in areas that I would have ignored just a few years back.

One of the hottest topics in cancer research right now is the dietary flavonoid group.  This is just a bunch of substances that are found in foods which have beneficial effects against cancer.

We all know that certain foods or dietary choices have influence on cancer development and overall health.  I came accross a statistic in human medicine that stated that about one third of cancers in people could have been prevented with lifestyle choices (this was excluding the effects of cigarette smoking).

One of the biggest lifestyle choices is the inclusion of certain foods that combat the effects of environmental carcinogens, genetic tendencies, trace water pharmaceuticals, viral DNA changes, dietary carcinogens, electrical field effects, and more.

Most of these naturally occuring flavanoids have very low toxicities.  One of the biggies is curcumin.

Curcumin is found in turmeric, which is the spice that is used in curries.  Curcumin is exceedingly interesting for dogs with cancer.  It is one of the core ingredients I use in cancer supplement programs for my patients and I have seen literal shrinkage of different dog lumps, like  hemangiosarcomas of the skin, fatty tumors (lipomas) , fibrosarcomas, and plasmacytomas.  I rely on it a lot.

This substance is being used as a model for tons of anticancer drugs  in development right now.  Here is some info. Over 40 different curcumin analogs (new drugs using curcumin as a template) are being researched at Ohio State University.

Why not just use the curcumin, instead of going through all the bother of making these new drugs?  There are two main reasons.

My grandfather left me these wise words: “When you want to find the reason for something, look for the dollar.”

So of course money has something to do with it.  You can’t patent a naturally occurring compound.  However, if you tweak its structure to produce a synthetic analog, get the lawyers together to protect the intellectual property, patent it, you are set for years. In this way big pharma protects profits.

Secondly, curcumin has some bioavailability problems. This means that the stuff doesn’t, to a large extent, get absorbed into the blood after it is taken by  mouth.  However, there are ways around this.

If you want to find out more about curcumin, please read the next post!!

Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. Cheryl bridwell on July 5, 2019 at 3:23 am

    Do u have advise for our lab 9years old with nasal cancer she was first diagnosed in September its now July she is on 20 mugs of prednisone a day we are making her homemade food that we add to her dog food ( Gentle Giants ) I give her 2 Benadryl and 2cimetidine every 8hours it helps with congestion in her nasal cavitidy area she first started bleeding from her nose it was awful snorting and mcus sounds were awful so loud we couldn’t sleep so pitiful she was so sad . Prednisone really helped she is starting to swell up I know prednisone is not good for her that’s when I read about Benadryl and cimetidine seems as if her breathing is getting labored worse and worse with her bleeding I didn’t know if curcumin would be an option for her or not. Can u help !!!

  2. Paige on January 4, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Such an important article! I will be adding turmeric to my dogs Billy food. Thank you for this resource!

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