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The Bristol Experience

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 20 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1341
  1. Thurstan Brewin

    Liz Hodgkinson, Jane Metcalfe Vermilion, pounds sterling 8.99, pp 150 ISBN 0 09 178980 X

    Unconventional clinics for patients with cancer have long existed in other parts of the world, but not in Britain. In 1971 so great was the public interest in the Issels clinic in Bavaria—after the athlete Lillian Board had been a patient there—that Sir David Smithers and two other cancer specialists were asked by the government of the day to visit and report back. They found little to say in its favour, but this probably served only to increase the enthusiasm of Penny Brohn, an acupuncturist and young mother, devastated to find some years after this that she had localised breast cancer.

    After “nine long, lonely weeks” in the clinic at a cost of around pounds sterling100 a day she returned to Bristol, where she “talked excitedly, feverishly, about her plans for setting up something like the Issels Clinic in the UK”—saying to her friend and cofounder, Pat Pilkington, “together, we've got …

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