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Sunday 16th June 2019

Common weed could treat skin cancer

26th January 2011

A common garden weed has been identified as a possible treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers believe the sap from petty spurge may have potential in this area.

However, they have warned patients not to try it for themselves at this stage as the treatment was still experimental.

Writing in the British Journal of Dermatology, the team revealed their findings after a study of 36 patients with 48 non-melanoma skin cancer lesions between them.

Not regarded as the most serious form of skin cancer, they still account for more than 30% of all cancers and include basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and usually occur in older people.

Each patient was treated with the sap once a day over a three-day period and after a month, there was no trace of the tumour in 41 of the 48 cancers.

The remaining seven lesions had a second course of treatment and show improvement.

Fifteen months down the line, almost 70% of the skin cancer lesions showed a complete response to the treatment.

Kimberley Carter of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “This is a very small test group so it will be interesting to see what larger studies and the development of the active ingredient in E peplus sap will reveal.

“Whilst it would not provide an alternative to surgery for the more invasive skin cancers or melanoma, in the future it might become a useful addition to the treatments available to patients for superficial, non-melanoma skin cancers.”


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