Jessica Ainscough

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Jessica Ainscough
Jessica Ainscough.jpg
Born (1985-07-00)July 1985
Died 26 February 2015(2015-02-26) (aged 29)
Nationality Australian
Other names The Wellness Warrior

Jessica Ainscough (July 1985 – 26 February 2015) was an Australian cancer patient and advocate of alternative cancer treatments who went by the self-coined nickname The Wellness Warrior. She died of her cancer in February 2015.[1][2]


Ainscough, former online editor of teen publication Dolly, was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma of the left arm at age 22, and the medical recommendation was amputation, though doctors were able to perform an isolated limb perfusion in the first instance in order to try to save the limb.[3]

When the cancer returned, she again refused amputation[4] and then pursued a range of purported therapies based on diet and lifestyle, including the Gerson therapy.[5][6]

At the same time she set up her Wellness Warrior blog and moved in with her parents. She was reported to earn "six figures" from her career as an alternative health guru.[7] Her mother, Sharyn, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2011[8] and also pursued alternative treatments, dying of her untreated disease in October 2013; according to surgical oncologist and breast cancer specialist Dr. David Gorski this was consistent with the expectations for untreated disease.[9]

Ainscough's advocacy of Gerson therapy, in particular, was highlighted by Professor John Dwyer of Friends of Science in Medicine: "There is no credible scientific evidence for any of these alternative treatments that claim to cure cancer," adding that "it can be difficult for people to tell what claims are unscientific and what are not".[1]

Ainscough continued to promote her blog and advice until at least late 2014, despite increasingly obvious evidence of progression of her disease.[7] Most pictures concealed the affected arm.[10][11] Profiles, even late in her life, uncritically repeated claims that her treatment had "paid off", with no balancing commentary from qualified medical practitioners.[2]

Her funeral was attended by Belle Gibson, who falsely claimed to have cured cancer through alternative therapies.[12]


  1. ^ a b Corderoy, Amy (March 6, 2015). "Cancer death of 'Wellness Warrior' Jess Ainscough brings focus onto alternative treatments". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Davey, Melissa (1 March 2015). "Jessica Ainscough, Australia's 'wellness warrior', dies of cancer aged 30". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Berry, Sarah (January 29, 2014). "The way of the wellness warrior". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  4. ^ Ainscough, Jessica (28 September 2010). "No ill will". ABC (Australian TV channel). Retrieved 19 February 2017. After being told by several doctors and surgeons at the top of their field that my only real chance of long-term survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder I decided to seek an alternative. 
  5. ^ "Gerson Therapy". American Cancer Society. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Overview of the Gerson Regimen". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. March 18, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Marcus, Caroline (8 March 2015). "Advocates of alternative therapies are gambling with patients' lives". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Jess Ainscough - The Wellness Warrior". 
  9. ^ "Sharyn Ainscough dies tragically because she followed the example of her daughter, The Wellness Warrior". Respectful Insolence. October 17, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Jess Ainscough finally admits her condition is deteriorating". Respectful Insolence. December 16, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2018. 
  11. ^ Gorski, David (March 2, 2015). "The Gerson protocol, cancer, and the death of Jess Ainscough, a.k.a. "The Wellness Warrior"". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved April 8, 2018. 
  12. ^ Donelly, Beau/Toscano, Nick (November 10, 2017). "Cancer fraud Belle Gibson: How the wellness industry became the other casualty". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2017.