When Ami Brown, the matriarch on the Discovery Channel’s reality TV show Alaskan Bush People was diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer, she was given a 3% chance of survival.
Two years later, she’s officially cancer-free—but still fighting against online trolls who are spreading rumors that she faked her cancer, Survivornet reports.
Brown, 54 has been incredibly open about her battle with cancer online and on-air, where she stars as a mother of seven living off the grid with her family in rural Alaska. Because of Brown’s cancer, the family moved from their house on the Alaskan frontier to a ranch in Washington to more easily access Brown’s medical care. Brown’s cancer is now in remission—fueling a slew of online rumors that she was exaggerating her symptoms or even faking her diagnosis for the sake of television.
Brown’s doctors at UCLA Medical Center confirmed the diagnosis to People magazine via a statement. It reads: “Amora Brown was diagnosed with Stage III non-small-cell lung cancer in April 2017. Treatment for her cancer included a four-month course of chemotherapy with radiation. Her disease responded well to the treatment, and, according to her UCLA oncologist Dr. Deborah Wong, she is now in remission.”
The controversy is just one example of how the internet can sometimes be a very hard place for cancer patients seeking support. Behind the impersonal veneer of screens and keyboards, insensitive commenters and unfounded rumors can have a profound emotional impact on cancer patients, who may already be feeling a sense of shame or hopelessness over their diagnosis.
While some people have been known to fake having cancer online and on social media, experts say these cases make up a tiny minority in the cancer community—and that most patients seeking support online or in public forums should be treated with respect and decency.
“It was very scary,” Brown said of her cancer in an issue of People earlier this year. “But I never gave up hope.”
Brown will continue to be monitored closely by her medical team over the next several months. In the meantime, the star is finishing up season 9 of Alaskan Bush People, adjusting to her new life in Washington and expanding her family homestead.