Updated 02 March 2015

Hollywood star Val Kilmer's big health secret

Can better health be bought? Can you pray sickness away? The answer may be simple - or not if you are a devout Christian Scientist like actor Val Kilmer.


There have been widespread claims that Hollywood star Val Kilmer has been silently suffering from a potentially fatal throat tumour - a health issue that can be resolved with surgery.

The Batman star has not denied that he is not in the best of health, but he has taken strong exception to talk of him having to undergo surgery for throat tumour.

Why? Because Christian Science argues that sickness is an illusion that can be treated through prayer.

Read: 10 celebrity fans of homeopathy

Now there certainly is a fine line when it comes to the private lives of those who seek the limelight like celebrities. And when you throw in science and religion it becomes even murkier - or more interesting.

This is the situation Kilmer finds himself in.

Sickness is an illusion

Christian Science dates back to the 19th-century and is based on the Bible and writings by Mary Baker Eddy. In her book Science and Health she argues that sickness is an illusion, adding that it can be treated by prayer alone.

It has been reported that Eddy claimed to have personally healed people suffering from a range of illnesses from tuberculosis and cancer to typhoid fever and blindness.

"Christian Science teaches that it’s never God's will for anyone to suffer, be sick, or die. Instead, it shows how God is entirely good, and therefore His will for each of us is only health and life," according to the website

It is not new that ill people miraculously recover without any medical treatment or for healing practices with no scientific explanation to save lives. It is also not new for people to place their trust in which ever religion they follow, in the hope of improving whatever difficulties they face, be it medically, mentally, financially or otherwise.

According to TMZ, Kilmer's neck swelled so much that he had trouble speaking. It claimed that the actor went so far as to cover his neck with scarves.

However, his condition got serious when the 55-year-old was rushed off to hospital after coughing up blood.

TMZ added that Kilmer's family urged him to seek medical treatment after he found out about the tumour, but he refused because of his religion convictions. It further claimed that the actor's family said he will not admit to suffering any pain because it would be viewed as a sign that prayer wasn't helpful.

Read: Nature can heal

The Christian Science church maintains that it up to followers to decide to choose medical care. However, it is reported that this is not an option because members fear that they will be ostracised.

So Kilmer may fall in this category, choosing rather to rely on prayer instead of seeking medical treatment for his alleged throat tumour. And if he opted for the latter when he was rushed to the hospital after allegedly coughing up blood then it is this secret that will keep the media spotlight on him.

Read more:

Religion linked to higher wellbeing

Brand of religion affects anxiety levels

Religion shouldn't prevent kids' medical care

Image: Val Kilmer from Shutterstock


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.