Kilmer is a lifelong Christian Scientist and those who practice the religion typically avoid seeking traditional medical care. When the actor finally went to the doctor in 2014 for a big lump in his throat — he was also having a hard time swallowing and woke up in a pool of his own blood a few times — he was told it was cancer. However, Christian Science calls it the “suggestion of throat cancer,” meaning “the idea is rather than say I have it or possess it, there is a claim, there’s a suggestion that this is a fact.”
Kilmer said the Christian Science cure would be to work with a practitioner, similar to a spiritual adviser, and pray his fear away so that his body would no longer “manifest outwardly what can be diagnosed as a malady.” That meant it’s not really cancer, but that he just had to go away for awhile and pray to relocate his faith within himself. Well, his kids were having none of that.
“I just didn’t want to experience their fear, which was profound,” Kilmer said of his decision. “I would’ve had to go away, and I just didn’t want to be without them.”
In 2014, Kilmer had surgery. After surgery, his treatment plan included chemotherapy and radiation “that zapped my whole throat, and it’s still dry as a bone.” It left him with a tracheostomy tube and a feeding tube.
When asked why he denied having cancer, Kilmer replied, “Because I didn’t have cancer.”
“They said I was denying that I had cancer, and when they asked me, I didn’t have cancer. It was a bit like do you have a broken bone? And if you broke it in high school, you would say no,” Kilmer explained. “Suddenly suspect. I have had a bone broken, but why are you being so aggressive? I had a bone broken. It was broken in my leg. ‘Oh, so you have a broken leg.’ ‘No, no, I don’t,’ I say. I did have a broken leg.”
Kilmer is no longer suffering from cancer, but attributes his healing to prayer, not medical intervention.
“I prayed, and that was my form of treatment,” he said.
Kilmer noted that he is suffering and pointed to his tracheostomy tube.
“That’s from radiation and chemotherapy. It’s not from cancer,” he declared. “That ‘treatment’ caused my suffering.”
Kilmer isn’t letting that get in the way of living the life he wants, which includes coming back to Hollywood.