Dan Dean of the beloved, Dove Award-winning Christian music trio Phillips, Craig & Dean, recently announced that he has been battling prostate cancer. The worship leader and senior pastor of The Heartland Church in Carrollton, Tex., was diagnosed early this spring, just prior to the release of Phillips, Craig & Dean’s most recent album, Breathe In.
“You find out some devastating news, you get a phone call, you’re standing in a corridor at the hospital, and in those moments, you have a choice to make,” Dean reflects on learning he had cancer. “You can fall into doubt, and questions and fears. The temptation is there for all of us to do that. In the moments when I can’t see God’s hand, or see His face working in my life, I make a choice to believe that He’s there, that He’s involved in the daily affairs of my life, that He’s in control, that He knows what I’m walking through.”
In July, Dean, with his family, chose to have surgery to attempt to remove the cancer from his lymph nodes. Post-surgery, the doctors were confident that his lymph nodes were clear and that he is on his way to experiencing a normal life. Dean plans on making routine checkups with his doctors over the next several months and considers himself 80% recovered and moving along rather well.
Dean is not the first in his family to battle this disease. Prior to his cancer journey, Dean lost his father-in-law to liver cancer and his brother to mesothelioma. A song originally inspired by his brother’s illness, “I Choose to Believe” (from Phillips, Craig & Dean’s most recent album, Breathe In), now has a special meaning all its own to Dean.
“Until you’ve experienced somebody looking at you in the face and saying you have cancer, you don’t know what that’s like until you’ve been there,” Dean says. “You don’t know the negative thought process that tries to attack you and come at you, and then how you have to build your faith. That’s when you can say, as the chorus of this song declares, ‘I choose to believe.’”
In addition to his musical career with Phillips, Craig, & Dean, Dan Dean is a husband to Becky and father to Dusty (29), Devin (26), and Danielle (23).