Does Belle Gibson actually have cancer? Woah. Okay. Boy did I feel like a jerk as I typed that out. It is certainly not my style to be skeptical of a person who claims she has cancer. Indeed, when I first read Belle's story, I did not doubt it at all. I completely believed that this was a woman who had terminal brain cancer that was treated well enough with conventional medicine that she was able to live many years beyond her initial diagnosis. One thing I did not believe was that Belle had managed to keep her cancer in check with her diet, which is something she heavily implies. Now, I always think that we should look for the truth in claims of healing cancer naturally through diet or fantasy-based medicine, which is why I decided to take a much closer look at Belle's story.
As far as cancer "naturally healing" stories go, hers is surprisingly anemic. The best I can glean from various articles written about her is that Belle was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, given four months to live, used conventional medicine for two months, and then, after passing out on the hospital's lawn had an epiphany where she decided to reject conventional medicine and instead heal herself naturally with diet and fantasy-based medicine. She is still alive six years later, though she claims that her brain tumor is still there, which causes her to have seizures. I was curious about what actually happened here. First of all, all Belle says is that she has "brain cancer" which seems a little odd to me. Which kind of brain cancer is it? Most people with a cancer story are very clear on this point. Secondly, did Belle actually go through an entire cycle of treatment, or did she quit part way through? Does she still use conventional medicine? I ask because it is critical that we ask these questions of someone who heavily and publicly implies that she has used fantasy-based medicine and food to beat the odds and survive another six years past her initial life-expectancy. But is any of this even true?
Last July, Belle posted on her facebook page that she has cancer of her spleen, blood, liver and uterus. Now this is where I and many other people became skeptical, and that is because it is highly unusual for brain cancer to spread to other areas of the body. The only thing I could think was that Belle's initial diagnosis was wrong, and that her original brain cancer was actually secondary cancer that stemmed from some other part of her body. I still believed, however, that Belle had cancer all over her body and now sadly had very little time left. But I am now seriously questioning whether I was correct in giving Belle the benefit of the doubt. Eight months have gone by since that announcement. Her facebook page is full of photos from her trips around the world, the latest of which was a cruise in the South Pacific a little less than a month ago. Now, I certainly know people (my own grandmother among them) who have taken trips with their family when still very sick with cancer. It is a way to form one final "good" memory before things get really bad. If this is what Belle is doing, then more power to her. However, everything Belle posts does not suggest a person who is sick with cancer. Is she getting treatment? Is she just using food and fantasy-based medicine? She claims that it was the misery of conventional treatment that inspired her to go natural, and her entire business has been based on this. There are too many contradictions and gaps in Belle's story and that is why I feel is it is fair to demand the truth from her. Too many people with cancer have relied on Belle's story of healing in making their own medical decisions.
Edited to add: Hey folks, when you post a comment will you please use some sort of name or identifier. You can still be anonymous of course; I simply want it to be easier to determine who posted what so that the dialog here does not get too confusing. Thanks!