Penny Brohn Cancer Care

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Penny Brohn Cancer Care (formerly Bristol Cancer Help Centre) Their web site notes: "We are the UK's leading charity which offers specialist support including complementary therapies, advice & counselling for people living with cancer & their supporters. " [1] "The Charity was founded in 1980 by Penny Brohn, a woman living with cancer, and her great friend Pat Pilkington to offer support to people living with cancer... the charity expanded and moved in 1983 to Grove House in Clifton, Bristol which was opened by HRH The Prince of Wales, who also became the Charity's active Patron in 1997." [2]


"It all started in 1975, when Pat Pilkington and her husband Christopher, an Anglican clergyman, bought a house in Bristol to use as a healing centre. They wanted to offer people spiritual healing, meditation and other natural health promoting activities such as yoga.

"From the start their friend Penny Brohn was involved. She was an acupuncturist. In 1979 Penny Brohn lost both her parents and was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. In the full flow of her life at 36, she was stunned. Doctors offered treatment for her body but none for the mental, emotional and spiritual planes, nor any dietary advice.

"Borrowing money she took herself to Dr. Joseph Issel’s clinic in Bavaria. Visited by her friend Pat, their experience there led both of them to commit to somehow establishing a holistic centre for people with cancer in Bristol. As she put it, "If I survive long enough I would put all my wit and wisdom" into this project.

"Almost immediately Pat was put in touch with Dr. Alec Forbes, an NHS Consultant Physician in Plymouth with a deep interest in healing who was looking for a clinic where he could give cancer patients a programme of natural remedies.

"Together the three, Penny, Pat and Dr. Alec, brought the Bristol Cancer Help Centre into being in Autumn 1980. Bea Vernon, the founder of the Gentle Approach to Cancer was one of their first patients. Three years later, they borrowed money and bought Grove House, offering 5 day residentials, taster introductory days and 3 day Bristol Approach days for interested professionals and others. " [3]

Penny's "search for alternative medicines that would combat the cancer by strengthening her body's immune system took her first to the metabolic clinic of Dr Josef Issels in Bavaria for immunotherapy. Later she went to the clinic of Dr Ernesto Contreras in Mexico to have metabolic therapy. Back in England, she attended the Mind-Body Centre of Isobel and Maxwell Cade in London, had acupuncture with her long-time mentor Dr Tony Evans, and had spiritual healing with the Reverend Tim Tiley in Bristol. She also visited a remote monastery in the Welsh mountains for meditation retreats." [4]

When planning to start a Centre, "They already had a building, in Downfield Road, Bristol, which Pat and her husband, Canon Christopher Pilkington, had brought to use as a spiritual healing centre. Christopher had spent much of his time developing his ability as a healer under the tutelage of Tim Tiley, and Pat and Penny knew that he would be only to happy to add his support and services to their project." [5]

"The most notable of the consultative projects in which the Centre was involved was the Hammersmith Project. This was instigated by Professor Karol Sikora..." In 1996 the Prince of Wales became the official patron of the Centre. [6]


Accessed February 2012: [7]



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  1. Penny Brohn Cancer Care Home, organizational web page, accessed February 29, 2012.
  2. Penny Brohn Cancer Care About, organizational web page, accessed February 29, 2012.
  3. Gentle Approach to Cancer Penny Brohn Cancer Care, organizational web page, accessed May 18, 2012.
  4. Helen Cooke, The Bristol Approach to Living With Cancer (Robinson, 2003), pp.4-5.
  5. Helen Cooke, The Bristol Approach to Living With Cancer (Robinson, 2003), p.6.
  6. Helen Cooke, The Bristol Approach to Living With Cancer (Robinson, 2003), p.8, p.11. This books suggests that the "spiritual awakening can cause what Deepak Chopra calls 'quantum healing'"; and later notes: "It may be important to ask how your sexual energy is manifesting itself, as unexpressed sexual energy may make us bad tempered or violent, obsessive or driven." (p.90, p.160.)
  7. Penny Brohn Cancer Care Trustees, organizational web page, accessed February 29, 2012.