Prior to his cancer diagnosis in April of 1991; the public knew Michael Landon as the strong father figure that he portrayed on the classic television series Little House on the Prairie. The star announced his diagnosis to the public a month later with a press conference and attempted to make light of the illness. According to Michael, he eschewed chemotherapy in order to undergo alternative treatments. Sadly, the actor passed away within the year. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Michael Landon refused chemotherapy.
Michael Landon’s Cancer Diagnosis
In May of 1991, Little House on the Prairie fans petrified when Michael Landon announced during a press conference that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis had occurred just a month prior, in April. The star revealed a great many candid things about his battle with the illness. Which at that point had only been going on for a short period of time. In that short period of time, Michael had allegedly undergone early chemotherapy treatments before deciding to opt out of chemotherapy altogether.
Michael Landon Scared of Chemotherapy
According to Michael Landon, the actor underwent a few small doses of chemotherapy. But became averse to the treatment before it came time to start getting bigger doses. Because of this, his chemotherapy treatment came to an end completely. However, that doesn’t mean that the star had given up his battle against cancer. Instead, Michael was dedicating all of his time to alternative treatments that he thought might have a better success rate than the oftentimes-unsuccessful chemotherapy. At the point that Michael’s cancer had progressed to. The doctors claimed that there was only a 1% chance chemotherapy would work.
Michael Landon claimed during his press conference that his first few doses of chemotherapy treatment had been akin to him testing the waters with his toe. And he apparently didn’t much like the temperature! Although he claimed that he didn’t feel many adverse side effects from the few smalls doses that he took during the minor amount of time that he was undergoing treatment. He said that he became afraid of chemotherapy anyways. Michael also claimed that the bigger chemotherapy doses featured things in them that the smaller ones didn’t. And those were the things that tore up patients’ bodies. At the end of the day, the actor decided that the invasive chemotherapy treatments weren’t worth the 1% increased chance of surviving his cancer diagnosis.
Although Michael Landon didn’t attribute the feelings to the chemotherapy itself; the actor claimed that the fear of undergoing the treatment began to become so strong that it was making him more ill than the cancer. Chemotherapy certainly isn’t a walk in the park, but neither is a fight with a terminal illness! While Michael made the decision that he was no longer going to undergo chemotherapy treatment; that didn’t mean that he was going to surrender to the disease that was afflicting him. At the time that Michael put on his press conference; he seemed incredibly passionate about the series of alternative treatments that he was undergoing in the wake of giving up chemotherapy.
Michael Tried Numerous Alternative Therapies
Michael Landon claimed that the thought of injecting himself with deadly chemicals in order to combat his cancer was simply too much to bear. So he wanted to seek out less dangerous methods of treatment that could potentially be just as effective. The actor tried out a great many things in order to fight his cancer. Including making major changes to both his lifestyle habits and his diet. He began working out and playing tennis more, and also began eating copious amounts of fruits and vegetables. In addition to these lifestyle and diet changes; Michael also looked for a solution to his woes using alternative therapies such as acupuncture and meditation.
Another treatment that Michael claimed to swear by was the coffee enema. Which, he shared with the reporters at his press conference, is one of the best ways in the world to treat intestinal irritation. Michael also added that the coffee he used for his enemas was certified organic.
He Drank 13 Glasses of Juice a Day Before His Death
When it came to eating his fruits and vegetables in the wake of his cancer diagnosis; Michael Landon wasn’t simply content to consume a mere salad a day. Instead, the actor arguably took it overboard by consuming what he claimed to be over a dozen glasses of juice a day.
Michael Landon’s preferred juice allegedly consisted of apples, carrots, and beets. He joked during the press conference that the massive amounts of carrot juice that he was ingesting was making him turn orange. Sadly, it seems that this juice consumption wasn’t enough to make the star’s cancer go away. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support!
The Actor Sought Advice from Cancer Survivors
In order to get ideas for alternative treatments and lifestyle changes that might help him overcome his diagnosis of pancreatic and liver cancer. Michael Landon claims to have tracked down numerous surviving cancer patients that had managed to overcome the illness using one method or another. Michael was apparently able to get in touch with numerous people who had successfully recovered from the disease. And he used what he learned from them when developing his own cancer-fighting routines. However, the actor claimed that the more he found out from these various cancer survivors; the more he was unsure about any specific cancer treatment working more than another. According to him, it seemed that the efficacy of the various treatments being espoused by the survivors was largely situational.
Michael Tried Everything and the Kitchen Sink (Almost)
Perhaps as a result of being unsure which treatments were going to work and which ones weren’t. Michael Landon seems to have taken the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach in his efforts to ward off his pancreatic and liver cancer during the final months of his life. Michael was willing to try out just about any idea that came his way. But there were apparently some places where he drew the line.
Beyond seeking out the advice of surviving cancer patients; Michael Landon also often received unsolicited advice from fans in the wake of his revelation to the public that he had been diagnosed. However, it seems that the majority of this advice didn’t meet the standards of the star. Before his death, Michael made fun of one fan who had written him a letter ; suggesting that he go swimming with dolphins in the hopes that their sonar cries would destroy his disease.
While Michael Landon was apparently willing to try out coffee enemas and visualization sessions; where he would simply sit around and imagine his cancer leaving; he wasn’t willing to try out swimming with the dolphins. Perhaps swimming with the dolphins could’ve been the one thing that would have managed to save the beloved television star!
Michael Had Three Wives and Nine Kids
In the months following Michael’s diagnosis and leading up to his death. The actor spent the majority of his time on his ranch with his wife and children. That ranch was in Malibu, California; and the wife that was by Michael’s side at the time of his death was his third. The star had nine children over the course of his life, and had a propensity for cheating on his wives. In fact, both of Michael’s subsequent wives following his first were mistresses that he had cheated on the prior one with. At the time of his death, the iconic actor was just 54.
The Actor Tried to Stay in Good Spirits
Besides Little House on the Prairie; the public had also known Michael Landon for his performances in the television series Bonanza and Highway to Heaven. The actor was certainly a beloved star, and he was also a creative force behind the scenes. Michael had been a producer on Little House on the Prairie. And it had been much more than his performance as the character of Pa Ingalls that had made the television series such a massive success.
In addition to the aforementioned press conference wherein Michael Landon personally called a handful of reporters to his ranch and declared his cancer diagnosis to them. The actor also announced his diagnosis subsequently on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. During the press conference and the television appearance; Michael was in good spirits and had a sense of humor about his cancer diagnosis. The actor had also claimed that much of the pain that he had been experiencing around the time of his diagnosis had gone away in the wake of him starting his numerous alternative therapies. However, things would quickly take a dark turn and he would die shortly afterwards.
Michael Had a Miniscule Chance of Surviving Regardless
While the story of Michael Landon refusing chemotherapy and dying almost immediately afterwards looks bad; and might make current cancer patients averse to the notion of alternative therapies. It’s important to remember that Michael’s cancer had progressed a great deal by the time that the actor was diagnosed. And that there was very little chance of him surviving regardless of what he did. It’s certainly funny to insinuate that coffee enemas may have been the culprit in the actor dying so suddenly after his diagnosis. But the fact of the matter is that Michael had simply fallen victim to a disease that there was very little chance of him ever getting the upper hand on at that point.
Did Little House on the Prairie Kill Michael Landon?
In the many decades since Michael Landon’s passing from cancer in 1991; some have speculated that the actor may have gotten cancer as a result of working on the set of Little House on the Prairie. The reasoning is that Little House on the Prairie was filmed on a location where there had been a partial nuclear-reactor meltdown in the late 1950s.
Although it may have seemed foolish for Michael Landon to give up his chemotherapy; there was only a 1% chance of him surviving his cancer with the treatment. And he decided that chance wasn’t worth the invasive therapy. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Michael Landon drank 13 glasses of juice a day in the months leading up to his death. And that the actor was a big fan of coffee enemas? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!