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Professor keeps focus on silver lining after pancreatic and prostate cancer

Bruce Horwitz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the MU School of Medicine, uses his experience with cancer to encourage others to keep an active interest their health.

Bruce Horwitz

Bruce Horwitz

Sept. 16, 2020

It is Bruce Horwitz’s nature to see silver linings. He’s a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the MU School of Medicine, and he tries to practice what he preaches. That outlook was tested in August 2017 when mild abdominal pain led to a devastating diagnosis: pancreatic cancer.

During his treatment, Horwitz received genetic testing that led to an additional diagnosis of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Horwitz credits MU Health Care doctors and his family — especially his wife and fellow psychologist, Ellen Horwitz — for their care and support. But he also knows he’s still alive to tell his story because he sought answers to his health problems rather than waiting and hoping. Horwitz hopes his experience reminds men they shouldn’t delay screenings or treatment.

“You have to take an active interest in your own health care,” he said.

With cancer behind him, Horwitz can once again enjoy his hobby: macro photography.

“When you get close enough, everything is interesting — a feather, a paper clip, a piece of material,” Horwitz said. “When you start to look at things at such a close level, you start to see structures and colors and patterns you wouldn’t notice in day-to-day life.”

Horwitz appreciates the beauty in details now more than ever. He’s expanding his photography skills, trying to get action shots of the fast-moving birds that come to the feeders on his back deck. It’s been a difficult three years, but there is still lots of living to do. For that he is grateful.

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