A DAD claims turmeric and mushrooms helped turn his terminal cancer 'inactive' – despite undergoing traditional treatments.
Stephen Winterbottom was diagnosed with stage-two malignant melanoma two years ago and underwent conventional cancer treatment, including surgery to remove moles on his head and immunotherapy.
But he claims using alternative treatments such as turmeric and lion's mane mushrooms has helped stall the spread of his cancer.
The warm yellow spice has long been touted for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, bu there isn't much scientific evidence to suggest that turmeric can help fight cancer.
One study conducted by Philadelphia's Temple University found that a compound in the spice called curcumin might prevent nutrients being delivered to tumours and stop cancer cells from emitting harmful proteins.
But their review also highlighted that turmeric could cause number of unpleasant side effects, including headaches, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
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And most studies into curcumin's effect on cancer have actually been done on animals.
Cancer Research UK states: "At the moment, there is no clear evidence in humans to show that turmeric or curcumin can prevent or treat cancer."
A bleak prognosis
Stephen claimed doctors have been left in shock after x-ray scans revealed his cancer was 'stable' and become 'inactive' after he began taking alternative treatments.
The 47-year-old, who lives in Glossop, Derbyshire, was first diagnosed with stage-two malignant melanoma in November 2021 after spotting a suspicious mole on his head.
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Shocking photos show the gaping holes from where doctors had to remove large chunks of skin to ensure the moles were gone for good.
However, the company director was told weeks later that the stage four cancer had spread to multiple parts of the brain – prompting the dad-of-two to get his affairs in order.
Stephen refused to hear how long doctors predicted he had left to live, concerned a bleak prognosis would negatively affect his mental health.
But Stephen's situation went from bad to worse when an adverse reaction to his cancer treatment led to a four-month stint in hospital, leading doctors to stall medical intervention.
Struggling to perform daily tasks like walking and eating, Stephen's health took a drastic decline – but a phone call with a friend reinvigorated him to carry on and seek alternative treatment.
The dad began researching unconventional cancer treatments such as lion's mane mushrooms and turmeric, willing to try any option to improve his chances.
Stephen now says he takes a daily dose of mushroom supplements, turmeric, melatonin, cod liver oil, colloidal silver, and vitamins and believes these have been helpful in stopping the spread of his advanced cancer.
Fifteen months on, Stephen said he feels better than ever – and, most shocking of all, his cancer has stopped spreading since January and is now classed as 'inactive'.
Stephen said: "When I went for a check up, the doctor said we would have certainly expected the cancer to have spread by now without any treatment.
"They were shocked. It told me that something's working.
"In my opinion, alternative therapies have absolutely had a positive effect.
"I feel good. I've started doing a bit of running again, cycling and swimming and I'm working full-time."
Stephen acknowledged that things could still take a turn for the worse.
"I know that at my next scan things could possibly change, but at the moment it's not changing.
"It's rare for it to just stop spreading altogether.
"Each time I do go for a scan I'm half expecting them to say it's spread every time but they always say no change."
Stephen was first diagnosed with malignant melanoma after a colleague alerted him to a concerning-looking mole on the top of his head.
After being fast-tracked to a dermatologist, Stephen was placed on a two-week urgent cancer pathway, with plans to operate in a matter of weeks.
Doctors removed two 'suspicious' moles from Stephen's body, leaving behind gaping craters on the top of his head.
The skin was tested and Stephen was diagnosed with malignant stage-two melanoma at Wythenshawe Hospital in November 2021.
Stephen said: "I was kind of expecting it based on what the doctors had said.
"I was concerned. I was very anxious waiting for the operation for them to remove it. The longer it was there, the more likely it was to spread."
A scan in February last year revealed that the cancer had spread further into multiple areas of Stephen's brain.
Stephen said: "At that point I was thinking I need to start sorting my finances out, I was thinking the worst.
"The doctor asked me if I wanted to know the prognosis and I said no I don't.
"If there was a timeline in my head, I would start manifesting it and thinking that's how long I've got left."
Stephen began treatment right away and had received one immunotherapy injection when he began experiencing horrific side effects.
The dad was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) – a rare neurological disorder in which your immune system mistakenly attacks part of the peripheral nervous system – and spent four months in hospital recovering.
Throughout this time, all of Stephen's cancer treatment had been stopped and he began researching alternative treatments to combat his life-threatening disease.
Stephen said: "I was trying to stay positive, I never thought I'd be in hospital for four months.
"When they said they were stopping my hospital treatment I thought, I'm going to have to do something.
"I'm not one for lying down and giving up."
Stephen received a call from a friend, who claimed his partner had been able to shrink her cancer with alternative treatments to the point where it was operable.
"I started watching a few videos on YouTube and did my own research," the dad recalled.
"I then began reading about the power of mushrooms and turmeric online and watching videos on another substance called melatonin.
"I thought one of them has got to work. I basically threw the kitchen sink at it."
Stephen began sneaking his alternative treatments into the hospital and the next hospital scan revealed that Stephen's cancer had stopped spreading altogether.
Stephen claims his doctors fully expected the cancer to have spread by now without any more immunotherapy treatment.
However, while the dad does credit turmeric, mushrooms and the other supplements in helping him, he wouldn't rule out conventional cancer treatments entirely if his disease were to worsen.
Stephen said: "Because it's stable at the moment and not spreading, when it does spread the doctors said we'll look at what else we can do for you.
"They said we would have certainly expected the cancer to have spread by now because you've not had any more treatment.
"I'd definitely encourage other people with cancer to consider alternative therapies.
"I think positivity as well. If you can convince your own body that it needs to heal then it can."
Turmeric (or Curcuma Longa) has been traditionally used in Asian countries as a medical herb due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties, according to a paper published by the National Library of Medicine in 2017.
According to the National Cancer Institute, extensive research over the past two decades suggests that curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric, interfere with multiple cell signalling pathways, providing support for the potential role of curcumin in modulating cancer development and progression.
However, the institute says the evidence is currently inadequate to recommend curcumin-containing products for the treatment of cancer.
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As for other treatments Stephen pursued, Cancer Research UK said there is no evidence that mushrooms or mushroom extract can prevent or cure cancer.
A 2009 article from the National Library of Medicine suggested that whole year daily use of cod liver oil was associated with lower risk of death in patients with solid tumours.
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