Talcum Powder

Published: June 7 2007


Talcum powder has been used for generations to soothe babies’ diaper rash and other irritations. It could also have another, more medicinal use. University of Florida pulmonologist Veena Antony found it can help fight lung cancer.

Antony: “We’ve shown that talc actually causes inhibition of the growth of the tumor; it cuts off blood supply to the tumor. It chokes off the tumor at a point where it is very essential that it have blood and oxygen to grow.”

Researchers tested sixteen lung cancer patients with impaired breathing by puffing talc into a key area of their lungs. Experts hope to one day combine this treatment with an anti-cancer agent as a one-two punch against lung cancer.

Antony: “It surprised us that such a cheap, easily available product and old-fashioned product can actually have benefits to the patient, both symptomatically and perhaps prolonging the patient’s life.”

Doctors say the procedure immediately relieved shortness of breath in patients whose cancer had migrated to the lungs and chest wall.

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