CLL Support Association
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Cures or Literary Hoaxes - What to Believe?

Cures or Literary Hoaxes - What to Believe?

"Social media entrepreneur Belle Gibson, developer of The Whole Pantry “health, wellness and lifestyle” app, is now the first to be accused of fabricating a miraculous recovery from metastasised cancer" in a literary hoax or deception. Michelle Smith, Research fellow in English Literature at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia asks "What is the responsibility of a major publishing house, then, to check the credentials and claims of its authors’ biographies? Or even the validity of particular health claims, such as alternative therapies for cancer or fad diets?"

And here's a popular press article on the same story:

"She always had her doubters. Gibson two years ago posted on Instagram that someone was trying to discredit her natural healing path. “As always, with everything, this is my journey and I encourage you to do what is best for your body and situation with love and an open mind. I have been healing a severe and malignant brain cancer for the past few years with natural medicine, Gerson therapy (organic, plant-based raw food theory that is supposed to activate the body’s healing powers) and foods. It’s working for me and I am grateful to be sharing this journey with over 70,000 people worldwide.”



As her reputation splinters, so do the dreams of the genuinely sick who saw in Belle Gibson a glimmer of hope for themselves. Her most ardent followers included those were genuinely sick and grasped in desperation for their own miracle.

The Australian Natural Therapists Association confirms what we all know to be true; that there is no magic cure for cancer, particularly when the diagnosis is terminal.

“If there was, that would be fantastic,” says executive officer, Brian Coleman. “We have not seen any evidence it happens.”

Surely a cautionary tale.


Photo: Mallee Bush Pea or Common Eutaxia (Eutaxia microphylla). Thanks as usual to Jay for identifying this scrub shrub.

5 Replies

And another very sad case... Jesse Ainscough... unfortunately true...

Great photo Neil...what is it?


I don't think we can omit Steve Jobs' story from this discussion, though in his case, it is not at all clear whether his temporary interest in alternative medicine made any difference in his survival time.

"Unfortunately, no further information is provided that we didn’t already know about regarding what Jobs did during the nine months he tried “alternative” therapies. He kept to a strict vegan diet that included large quantities of fresh carrot and fruit juices. (Shades of the Orange Man!) In addition:

To that regimen, he added acupuncture, a variety of herbal remedies, and occasionally a few other treatments he found on the internet or by consulting people around the country, including a psychic. For a while, he was under the sway of a doctor who operated a natural healing clinic in southern California that stressed the use of organic herbs, juice fasts, frequent bowel cleanings, hydrotherapy, and the expression of all negative feelings.":

And in the addendum to that article:

"In Mr. Jobs’s case, the tumor was discovered almost by accident, when he had a CT scan for something else."

I'll have to get my native flora identification expert on the job to tell us what native plant I've photographed in the scrub. I think it may be a member of the pea family.



Chris, the photo shows the flowers of a Mallee Bush Pea or Common Eutaxia (Eutaxia microphylla), which I found in my scrub wanderings.


Thanks for this Neil - so very sad. I can't tell you how many well meaning women in my generation have quoted both the wellness warrior and Jesse to me as if I was somehow shunning the hard option of a lifestyle change by opting for chemo instead of carrot juice.

Truth be told I did listen to them after diagnosis and spent 3 months growing and juicing wheatgrass, going on an extreme raw diet all the while seeing my bloods get worse. I then decided to have balance in all things - to drink occasionally, live my life and listen to my doctors.

I get so sad when I hear people trying to avoid chemo when it saved my life, I would not be here today without FCR and whatever comes next, I will keep listening to my Doctors, I owe that to my children. As my haematologist once said, she had a few patients who have turned their back on western medicine and none of them are here today to tell the story. I wish Jesse and her mother had followed their Doctors advice, in all likelihood they would both be alive today if they had.

Salient stories.


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Good to hear from you Deb and that FCR has saved your life. I've just been reading the links Chris provided and it wasn't just Jesse, but her mum that may have lived much longer if she hadn't also gone the alternative therapy route after being diagnosed with breast cancer. From the first link:

"As a result, her mother died, probably unnecessarily, about a year and a half ago after two and a half years, which is pretty close to the known median survival of untreated breast cancer. I haven’t been able to find anywhere who influenced whom, but I’ve seen it stated that Sharyn Ainscough was actually the one into alternative medicine first and a major influence on Jess Ainscough’s decision to “go alternative.” Whatever the case, whoever influenced whom, the embrace of Gerson therapy resulted in one death that was very likely preventable (Sharyn) and another that was possibly, perhaps even probably, preventable (Jess)."



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