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Tribute to Dr Etienne Callebout

10th January 2022

It is with a heavy heart and huge sadness that I report that Dr Etienne Callebout MD passed away in his sleep this weekend.

Dr Callebout played a huge role in my recovery from stage 4 cancer and he was  instrumental in helping me gain the knowledge and courage to take on my disease. Without him I would not be here now and as a result many of you who have read my book I suspect wouldn’t be here either. He was my mentor and tutor – he taught me about an anticancer lifestyle and detoxification even though his recommendations were not always easy to follow. His lengthy supplement recommendations were legendary as he recognised the need to attack the cancer from all fronts with a ‘guerrilla warfare’ approach. His influence on me gave me the insight and ability to view the disease not as an invincible foe but a problem with many flaws and failings to target and correct. He pulled me through some very dark times in my life.

I first met him in 1999 when my cancer had returned and spread to my lungs  and since that time Etienne was not only my doctor, he became my personal friend and ally not just in fighting cancer but alongside me in the fight for acceptance of integrative care.  His loss will be felt not just in the UK, he was well respected all over the world as a leading figure in complementary cancer care. He contributed a chapter to a ground-breaking book published in 1997, which describes his approach back then. It mentions the use of indomethacin (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and Tagamet (cimetidine) showing he was one of the earliest doctors to recognise the inclusion of off label drugs for cancer treatment:

An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer (Alternative Medicine Definitive Guides): Diamond, W. John, Cowden, W. Lee, Gree University of Brussselsoldberg, Burton: 9781887299015: Books

Dr Callebout was born in Belgium and trained at the Free University of Brussels where he specialised in Tropical Medicine and later in General Practice. He then branched into acupuncture, homeopathy and naturopathy.

His own journey into complementary cancer care began in 1987 when his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Bravely he was present to assist the surgeon during the operation but the cancer was found to be inoperable. His father passed away three weeks later but the shock of what he witnessed changed him forever. From that moment he vowed to seek out and provide patients with better options and complementary treatments.

He travelled to Bangladesh and Rancai where he practised meditation and embraced the psycho spiritual element of our existence.  Always willing to listen and learn he travelled all over the world interviewing doctors, including many different modalities into his repertoire like Chinese herbs which are only now beginning to be accepted by the mainstream. His experience and knowledge was vast but most of all he was the most compassionate and innovative doctor, willing and ready to use cutting edge treatments to save your life.

Etienne was old fashioned in many ways, he hated using emails and a computer, every protocol was meticulously written out by hand until several years ago when he suffered a stroke which left him with some paralysis down one side of his body.

Yet in spite of this handicap, he managed to get back to work, such was his devotion to helping patients. He would not let this inconvenience get in the way of trying to save lives.

He was a unique and incredibly special person who put others first and we desperately need more like him. I will miss his humour, his warmth, his scientific brilliance and his compassionate personality. He was my hero.

May you rest in peace Etienne. I owe you my life.