During my mini-tour of Australia in October 2010 I interviewed Ron Guba in Melbourne. Some of this interview is shown above, in which Ron talks about his use of essential oils to treat very small, early-stage skin cancers or pre-cancerous lesions. These were not cancers that required urgent medical intervention.

The main types of skin cancer include:

  • Solar (or actinic) keratosis (a precursor to SCC)
  • Squamous celle carcinoma (SCC)
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
  • Melanoma

Melanoma (a.k.a. malignant melanoma) is the rarest, but most virulent type of skin cancer. You can find more detailed information on the different types of skin cancer here. Ron believes that “For solar keratoses, or basal and squamous cell carcinomas in early stages, a number of essential oils would be worthy to trial.” This is a trial formula, for 30 grams total:

Ron Guba formulation

Gently melt the beeswax and Jojoba oil together, then add the essential oils and place into containers to cool. This ointment should be applied to affected areas, two to three times per day. Resolution of lesions can take up to six weeks of daily application. If there is no improvement, discontinue use and seek medical advice.

The two photographs below show the complete resolution of a solar keratosis on a woman’s chest. She used the same formulation as above, but with 50% essential oil. Because of the irritation she experienced, Ron is now using the essential oils at 33%. This is her account of using the formulation: “The second photo doesn’t show it so well but the spot had nearly halved in size, the top half is gone (the photographer didn’t tell me the ruler wasn’t in line!). I can’t notice any remaining mark looking in the mirror but in the final photo there could be the faintest pink mark where it was. I used the oil twice/day. I got some skin irritation after about a week of using it. I considered diluting it but instead applied a little sweet almond oil to the surrounding area when I applied it. The skin irritation resolved after a day or two of doing that. After 2 weeks I noticed part of the keratosis was just disappearing. The rest was completely gone within another 10 days. A very good result considering the skin specialist told me if it was removed it would leave a large white scar.”

Solar keratosis, day 0

Solar keratosis, day 0

In post-video emails, Ron has added the following information: Another long time aromatherapy friend (a red-head) used the 50% blend on a diagnosed BCC – about 3mm on his upper right chest. Six weeks to full resolution. The two other cases were from afar. One had a small BCC on his right shoulder and reported to me that the lesion had cleared after four weeks. The other had a small SCC arising from an actinic keratosis on his left hand. He had multiple actinic keratoses and had had a number of these removed with cryosurgery and some SCCs were surgically excised. I heard from him some months later that the lesion had healed after ‘some weeks’.

Solar keratosis, day 26

Solar keratosis, day 26

In the end, it is an experimental formula. As I said, it is worthy to trial on small SCCs, BCCs (BCCs being the least risky) and solar keratoses when there is not an immediate need for treatment. If there is no result in six weeks, move on to medical treatment. Part of Elson’s work on ‘exogenous isoprenoids’ were done on melanoma cell lines in vitro and many of the compounds like limonene, geraniol, etc. were effective at arresting growth and inducing apoptosis at low use levels. Of course, it would be interesting to see if such formulae could actually be truly effective on early diagnosed melanomas, but too risky to suggest.

What is great about the essential oil treatment is the lack of pain, and the fact that it does not create a wound with consequent scarring as compared to conventional treatments. I will be making a formula soon for a woman with a small patch of Bowen’s Disease – a pre-cancerous form of squamous carcinoma. I may also extract some powdered frankincense resin with the essential oils, as the boswellic acids in the resin have some useful anti-cancer properties.RonGuba

  • Ron Guba is Australia’s leading proponent of aromatic medicine, having studied and practiced since the early 1980s.
  • Completing his diploma in Phytotherapy and Aromatic Medicine in 1988 in France, Ron began Essential Therapeutics, a company devoted to providing therapeutic-grade essential oils to health practitioners.
  • Ron founded the Centre for Aromatic Medicine in 1989, to provide education and training in the practice of aromatic medicine and aromatherapy.
  • Ron is a founding member and past chairman of both the International Federation of Aromatherapists (Australia) and the Australian Aromatic Medicine Association. He writes, and lectures extensively in Australia and overseas.

In animal research, experimental skin cancers have been successfully treated with sandalwood oil at 5% (Dwivedi and Abu-Ghazaleh 1997,Dwivedi and Zhang 1999), tea tree oil at 10% (Greay et al 2010).

Dwivedi C, Abu-Ghazaleh A 1997 Chemopreventive effects of sandalwood oil on skin papillomas in mice. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 6:399-401

Dwivedi C, Zhang Y 1999 Sandalwood oil prevent skin tumour development in CD1 mice. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 8:449-455

Greay SJ, Ireland DJ, Kissick HT et al 2010b Inhibition of established subcutaneous murine tumour growth with topical Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil. Cancer Chemotherapy & Pharmacology 66:1095-1102