Facing Death, Spreading Hope

By Matt Porter

November 14, 2012 Updated Nov 14, 2012 at 7:19 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) After being diagnosed with late term prostate cancer in 2009, Dan McDermott knows he's in his swan song.

Sitting in his home office with his guitar, he said playing helps him through the disease. When he's strong enough.

"There was a time before the cancer, my fingers would work," said McDermott strumming his guitar.

Now an advocate for prostate cancer screenings, the part-time musician wasn't always so open.

"I lied to my family which was not the right thing to do, and I kept it from them for more than two weeks," he said.

Even after coming clean to his wife, McDermott found it hard to tell even his two daughters.

"It was hard," said McDermott, "And I didn't want anybody else to feel that way."

Three years later at age 61 with his cancer quickly growing, McDermott has accepted his life as it is.

And now, in what could be his final months, he's trying to tell every man he can that their life can be different.

"You don't have to wind up in my situation," McDermott said, "Get screened early, it could definitely save your life."

His urologist at Lourdes Hospital, Dr. James Steinmetz, said when caught early, prostate cancer is the second most curable cancer for men after skin cancer.

"Their 15 year survival rate from cancer is 95-99 percent so it's a very curable cancer," said Steinmetz.

Living with his wife and four-year-old Cocker Spaniel Snuggles, McDermott knows he won't see everything he'd like.

"I know I'll miss my grandchildren because I don't have any yet," McDermott said.

But, he'll keep playing along, determined to end on a positive note.

"I want everyone to feel good about life," he said, "Not be depressed. Because depression is a poor way to end one's life."