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
Breast CancerPatient Stories
My Story: Male Breast Cancer and Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia
By Edward J. Sawa
Edward Sawa was waking up with headaches that disrupted his daily activities and ended up being diagnosed with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia and breast cancer. Read the lessons he’s learned as a male with breast cancer.
Breast CancerCONQUER CamPatient Stories
CONQUER Cam: A Spotlight on Ed Sawa
Ed Sawa, a 65-year-old male breast cancer survivor, describes his journey through treatment with his support system by his side. Ed hopes that by sharing his story he can help men better understand the possibility of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Drugs for Lymphoma
Here are the drugs and financial support services available to patients receiving treatment for Lymphoma.
Patient Stories
My Eccentric Companion
By Mary Trouba
Mary Trouba, who was encouraged by her sister to write about her experience as a patient with metastatic breast cancer, tackles the importance of the words we use when discussing cancer, explaining her problem with the phrase “battling cancer.”
Last modified: October 14, 2020

Subscribe to CONQUER: the patient voice magazine

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