What it’s like to walk through a cancer diagnosis with a patient.

Dr. Kevin S. McConlin, a surgeon and chief of prostate cancer surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, has heard a lot of complaints from patients grappling with prostate cancer during a recent conference. One man in his 60s told McConlin that he found out his cancer was no longer treatable, but “couldn’t bear to live the rest of his life with the constant worry that he was going to die of this.”

Many patients want a cure.

“But most of the time, they want something that’s going to make them feel better,” he said.

Some patients are not sure how to relate to someone going through a diagnosis like this and, they worried, might also feel judged, too. So, McConlin got his fellow surgeons to share stories with these men.

“Sometimes they need to know that their problems are valid, that they have thoughts,” McConlin said. “If they get that, that’s just going to empower them.”

About 85 percent of prostate cancer patients die of other causes, compared with 15 percent of prostate cancer patients who survive five years without the disease, and six percent who survive 10 years without the disease.

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