LymphomaPatient Stories

The Path Less Taken Leads to Healing & Health: Dan Dean's Story

Following 6 months of intensive chemotherapy to treat his stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Dan Dean decided he wasn’t comfortable having a bone marrow transplant.
June 2016 Vol 2 No 3
Tracy Wright

After 6 months of intensive chemotherapy to treat his stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Dan Dean decided he wasn’t comfortable having a bone marrow transplant.

“My brother and I started researching Western and Eastern medicine treatment options during my second round of chemotherapy,” Mr. Dean, who was 23 at the time of his diagnosis, told CONQUER.

“I became very educated on a variety of modalities, and chose an integrated approach to my care against the wishes of my oncologist and many other doctors. Nobody thought I would survive without a bone marrow transplant. My cancer was very aggressive. They were passionate about my survival and thought a bone marrow transplant was the best chance for saving my life,” said Mr. Dean.

Doing It My Way

“It goes back to a sense of empowerment,” he continued. “I wanted the decision to be fully in my hands. I had to be true to myself. It was a mind-and-body experience. I believed that my body had the capacity to heal and recover itself. I also wanted to save a bone marrow transplant as an option for the future if I ever needed it.”

With a large tumor in his chest and smaller tumors in other locations, Mr. Dean decided to follow a rigorous course of complementary medicine to bring his body back to a healthy state, once his tumor was reduced.

“I started with a local doctor who supported a nutrition-based approach,” he said. “I completely overhauled my diet, started taking nutritional supplements based on my body chemistry, and received nutritional IVs. I also underwent chelation therapy to eliminate the heavy metal toxicity in my system—I even had all the mercury fillings in my teeth removed. And I integrated some Chinese medicine, using traditional Chinese herbs and acupuncture.”

Caring for My Mind

In addition to these changes, Mr. Dean also began caring for his mind, by organizing his priorities and developing coping mechanisms, such as yoga, walking, and meditation, to deal with the stressors in his life.

“It was a complete makeover of my body and mind,” Mr. Dean added. “Building my body back up was a slow process, but after about a year, I started to feel pretty good. My hair was growing back, my voice returned, and I was building up strength.”

Mr. Dean continued to be monitored by his oncologist with scans for the next 2 years. Each scan showed no signs of cancer, as well as improvement in his overall health.

Years later, Mr. Dean continues to follow his “complementary medicine protocol,” which he considers more of a lifestyle change than treatment. He has been a mentor to others who are battling cancer through the Imerman Angels program, and he manages, a website where young adult patients with cancer and survivors can share their stories.

Launching an Organization for Male Cancer Survivors

Dan is also the Founder and Executive Director of the national nonprofit organization “M Powerment,” which is focused on helping young male patients with cancer and survivors overcome the spiritual, physical, and mental challenges that are unique to this population. For more information on this organization, visit

Discussing his plans to launch that new organization, Mr. Dean said, “I think a lot of young adults feel like they’re alone when they are diagnosed with cancer. That was my experience. All the people recommended to me for support were much older. That only alienated me further. Plus, it was very challenging vocationally being diagnosed at 23. Young adults are still figuring out their lives, and it can be difficult to develop a new normal during and after cancer treatment.”

To visit Dan Dean's CONQUER author page, click here

Share this:

Recommended For You
Patient StoriesProstate CancerSurvivorship
How I Learned to Be Vulnerable: Sharing My Prostate Cancer Story Helped My Healing
By Mark DeLong
A decade after his son passed away from a rare form of bone cancer at age 16, Mark DeLong was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He learned, among other things, the healing power of being vulnerable and sharing personal stories.
Colon CancerPatient StoriesCancer Symptoms
A Learning Experience
By Lydia Virgo
Losing weight and her appetite made Lydia Virgo go to the doctor to get a blood test, which showed a low iron count. Although exhibiting no pain, Lydia’s CT scan and colonoscopy revealed a tumor in her colon.
Patient StoriesGastric CancerClinical Trials
Fighting Cancer Amid a Pandemic: My Cross-Country Clinical Trial Experience
By Dan Greene
At age 68, Dan Greene was told the intense pain in his abdomen was likely pancreatic cancer, until further testing determined he had stage IV stomach cancer. Joining a clinical trial gave him a second chance.
Patient StoriesLung CancerPatient Advocacy
Becoming a Patient Advocate After a Small-Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosis at Age 28
By Montessa Lee
Montessa Lee’s pain persisted after an initial visit to the doctor and a misdiagnosis. Finally, an x-ray in the emergency room revealed a 15-cm mass on her left lung. Read how she turned anger into action.
Last modified: October 14, 2020

Subscribe to CONQUER: the patient voice magazine

Receive timely cancer news & updates, patient stories, and more.

Race or Ethnicity
Profession or Role
Primary Interest