Dan Hill tells all

The singer-songwriter’s candid and moving account of prostate cancer, along with a video interview and new song—for your iPad


Five months ago, Dan Hill—award-winning singer, songwriter and author—was backstage, 30 minutes away from performing a concert, when he got a call on his cellphone. “Dan, you have cancer,” said his doctor. “Prostate cancer.”

He went on stage and spent the next two hours singing as though he might never sing again. Or so he was told. “It was almost like going into a black hole. I don’t remember anything.”

In the April 16 issue of Maclean’s magazine and reproduced in this e-book special, Hill has written a candid and moving account of what it’s really like to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“The first nurse speaks with a strong accent. ‘Compared to when you were 18, how hard are your erections now?’ I squirm and confess I can’t recall.” Maclean’s visited Hill at his home in Toronto to talk more about his experience of  cancer. “Imagine,” says Hill, “that someone said, ‘You can have 10 more years, live a full life—meaning sex life—or you can have 30 more years, but you may not have a sexual life in a typical sense.’ What a decision to make.”

He says he wanted to write the article for “men like me who are oblivious. Don’t make the mistakes I made and just ignore it.” Recovered from surgery now, he’s running and performing concerts. “One of the things I did to make myself feel better is that I kicked up my running even more. I knew that I had to stay active, that I had to keep living as if my life was actually going to unfold naturally because when you stop, when you freeze, and you think about it, that’s when the demons come and can drag you down.”

In a special iPad extra, Maclean’s presents the in-depth feature story, an exclusive video portrait, a medical primer from a leading prostate-cancer doctor and a new song, The Slightest Difference, by the award-winning singer-songwriter—available in the Maclean’s magazine app.

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Dan Hill tells all

  1. I just watched Dan on Canada AM talking about his experience. being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
    I am the wife of a Prostate Cancer patient. I totally agree with Dan in saying our family was devastated when we received the news. My husband was shocked, but he was the one who kept us all together. He was strong for us and that made us stronger as a family.
    This subject, as Dan said is not spoken about enough. It was only after my husband was diagnosed, had the surgery and recovering that others told us of having it happen to them also.
    It does change your whole look at life, but given a choice of having the prostate removed or having your life changed as a man, There is no choice. You make it because it’s what you need to do.
    My hat off to you Dan Hill for coming out with this story. My husband watched and realizes he is not the only one who had this. No matter how many times he hears of someone having prostate cancer, he is still amazed when he hears someone speak of it.
    It has been 3 years for my husband, but every time you go on your checkup, you always hope & pray there is no more sign of cancer returning. So far so good for us.
    Thank you & look forward to reading the article.

  2. what year did dan hill first diagnosed prostate cancer? April 16?

  3. To Dan…it’s been years since we last saw each other and I was watching the Juno’s tonight when I thought of you and wondered how you’ve been. I decided to google your name when I stumbled across your story. So sorry to hear about your illness. Keep strong and fight. May your story support others who walk down this frightful path and I hope for your recovery to be one that will keep you cancer free.

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