Jonnie Irwin: What’s the secret to his success?

Jonnie Irwin Sheds light on his battle with cancer

Jonnie with wife Jessica on a recent holiday in the Costa del Sol. Credit: jonnieirwintv/

Diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2020, A Place In The Sun presenter Jonnie Irwin was given just one month to live.

Despite the expert’s predictions, the dad of three has succeeded against all odds and continues his brave battle against incurable cancer.

Jonnie’s incredible journey, filled with hope and resilience, has been marked by unconventional treatments and dietary choices that he believes have played a crucial role in his survival.

A battle that defies predictions

Referring to author Jane McLelland, who wrote the book How to Starve Cancer, Jonnie recently posted on Instagram: ‘I recently did an interview with Jane, who’s helped me along my journey.’

The podcast sheds light on some of the surprising elements that have contributed to his success.

‘When I first met you back in January [2023], I honestly didn’t think you had long to go, to be honest,’ confessed Jane. Jonnie agreed, acknowledging his significant weight loss at the time.

The power of diet and adaptation

Jonnie then delved into the diet that he believes has kept him going. While he once followed a keto diet, he eventually transitioned to a more balanced, sensible approach. He also highlighted the importance of listening to his body’s needs.

‘My diet – I don’t have a keto diet… More sensible, healthy, veggie smoothies in the morning, lots of veg, and a little fruit but not too much because I’m nervous about the sugar,’ Jonnie said.

‘But I know my liver likes fruit. I’m drinking a lot of tea and coffee because it’s good for my liver, but you can’t just do one thing – you’ve got to adapt as well.’

Jane agreed and emphasised the synergy of various elements: ‘The thing is that all these things will actually work synergistically and it is a combination.’

Beyond diet: A holistic approach

Surprisingly, Jonnie and Jane clarified that their discussions seldom revolved around diet alone. She believes that the people focused on the book title How To Starve Cancer and naturally assume it’s all about diet.

Jane, known for her expertise in off-label drugs and complementary treatments, went on to clarify her role.

‘I am not a doctor, so I don’t prescribe the drugs. I say you’ve got to discuss this with your doctor to see if this would be suitable for you to have. I’m not treating you. All I do is provide education and information.’

The discussion extended to Jonnie’s experiences with the NHS and its approach to alternative therapies.

Despite having an excellent oncologist who supports his choices, Jonnie emphasised the restrictions healthcare professionals face.

‘I think anybody working for the NHS or in the UK, they’re not allowed to step outside the box,’ he said ruefully.

Championing alternative approaches

Jane McLelland, herself a two-time cancer survivor, has been a vocal advocate for alternative methods including natural therapies, exercise and diet in addition to off-label drugs in cancer treatment.

After nearly four years from Jonnie’s  first diagnosis he shared some of the other alternative treatments he believes have helped, including, ‘hyperbaric oxygen, [intravenous] Vitamin C and Reiki.’

Irwin expressed concerns about the influence of big pharmaceutical companies and the reluctance of doctors to explore unconventional treatments, particularly for stage four cancer patients.

He concluded, ‘But the more I research and the more I speak to people on the alternative side outside the “take your pill from the NHS,” the more I am wary of the interests of big pharma.’

Responses to the podcast

Many have commented positively on the interview: ‘I have Janes book. There’s also a French man on YouTube that does a special diet and he had stage 4 cancer and is now clear and has been for some years, all through watching what he eats. Diet is the best way to go I feel.’

One person posted: ‘You certainly look better. Testament to your inner strength,’ while another said: ‘You are the best example I know of us not being given a life, but of making one.’

One heartfelt message read: ‘After reading articles about you it was an absolute delight to listen to this uplifting, honest, encouraging interview. May we have you for a long, long time to come Mr Irwin.’

In a remarkable journey of resilience and determination, Jonnie Irwin‘s story serves as a testament to the potential benefits of holistic approaches to cancer treatment, demonstrating that there are multiple paths to healing.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.