Cancer experts have challenged the alternative therapies guru Ian Gawler, who claims to have cured himself from secondary cancer. The new medical report has cast doubt that he might not have had the disease and could have been wrongly diagnosed.
Dr Gawler, 61, Australia's most famous cancer survivor and founder of the Gawler Foundation, had advanced tuberculosis rather than the secondary bone cancer he was told he had in the late 1970s, says the online report in the Royal Australian College of Physicians' monthly Internal Medicine Journal.
Eminent oncologists Associate Professor Ian Haines of Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne and Professor Ray Lowenthal of Tasmania's Royal Hobart Hospital wrote the report.
His foundation's residential programs have treated more than 15,000 sufferers, many of whom swear by his methods involving strict diets, "mind-training" and meditation. Another 75,000 have attended Gawler Foundation lectures and workshops.
But Dr Gawler, OAM, said it was "ridiculous" to claim his secondary cancer never happened.
"I would question the authors' motivations given my prominence in this field," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
"The nub of the argument is whether inadequate testing was done on me," he added.
Professor Lowenthal has been a long-time critic of Dr Gawler's methods but Associate Professor Haines said he was a "courageous fellow who I know, respect and admire ... But I don't want patients thinking this man cured himself of advanced cancer".
Associate Professor Haines said alternative or "complementary" therapies were fine in conjunction with conventional medicine but should not be the only treatment.
The Internal Medicine Journal report says all Dr Gawler's symptoms between 1975 and 1978 can be scientifically explained by "advanced ... disseminated ... mycobacterial infection" such as TB.
The report states Dr Gawler's disease was "wrongly labelled".