Actor Val Kilmer has talked publicly about his battle with cancer for the first time.
The American actor had denied claims he was suffering from oral cancer in 2016, saying discussion about his illness “was misinformed”.
In a Reddit Q&A the actor told fans he was “healing of cancer”, saying “my tongue is still swollen altho [sic] healing all the time”. Val Kilmer is a Christian Scientist, a religious sect that favours faith healing over medicine.
Kilmer’s The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) co-star, Michael Douglas told reporters in November that Kilmer had the same kind of cancer Douglas himself had been diagnosed with. Douglas made public in 2010 that he had throat cancer, and in 2013 revealed he had also suffered tongue cancer.
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“My prayers are with him. That’s why you haven’t heard too much from Val lately,” Douglas said.
Kilmer maintained for years that he did not have any form of cancer.
In a Facebook post from June 2015, he thanked people for their support but said “I do not have cancer or a tumour”. He later publicly confronted Douglas on Facebook, telling people he was “misinformed”.
“The last time I spoke to [Douglas] was almost two years ago… Some fans have mistakenly thought my silence about my personal issues meant that somehow I wasn’t being responsible to my health, because of my reliance on prayer and Love.”
Kilmer remained a devoted follower of the Christian Science religion, a church that believes in healing through prayer.
In his post revealing that he had been suffering from tongue cancer, Kilmer said he was still feeling the effects of the disease and his tongue swelling was yet to wane.
“Because I don’t sound my normal self yet people think I may still be under the weather,” he wrote.
According to the Cancer Society, about 250 New Zealanders were diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Most oral cancer sufferers would survive for more than five years, the society said.
The cancer most often occurred in people aged over 40. Tobacco and alcohol use put people at risk, it said. For prevention and detection, the society said dental checks were “an excellent opportunity to have the oral cancer screening examination”.