Herman Koch has metastatic prostate cancer, incurable but stable

Herman Koch

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Writer and trash cancreator Herman Koch is terminally ill. He was told in early 2020 that he had metastatic prostate cancer, but has not made it public until today. Hormone therapy has made the disease stable for the time being, he says in an interview Volkskrant Magazine.

Koch’s new book will be published next week Are you going to write about it?, in which he describes how he deals with his diagnosis and looks back on important moments in his life. He also explains why he kept his illness quiet from the outside world for almost four years and why he has now written a book about it.

The author of, among other things, the filmed bestseller The dinner In conversation with Volkskrant Magazine, he already provides an explanation for keeping his diagnosis quiet. “Mainly because of the idea of ​​a newspaper report with the headline: Herman Koch terminally ill.” He thought that would be very bad for his 25-year-old son Pablo and he did not feel like dealing with the “mountain of sympathy” from people who would immediately call him afterwards.

Bad news conversation

In the interview, the 70-year-old Koch talks candidly about his diagnosis and the impact that the disease and the treatment have on his life. He says that he initially received the message that it would be treatable, but that the doctor later told him in a bad news conversation that the cancer was also in his lymph nodes and bones. Healing would be impossible.

“You will not die immediately from this. Three to fifteen years, it could be anything,” Koch quotes his doctor’s assessment in the newspaper.


The female hormones he receives for his therapy not only keep the disease stable, but also make him a lot more emotional, Koch continues. And when asked, he acknowledges that it makes him write differently. The newspaper quotes a friend of Koch’s who says that the writer writes more movingly about his early deceased parents than in his previous work.

His diagnosis forced Koch to cancel his promotional tour for his book Fine the day cancel in 2020. Since then he wrote two more books: A film with Sophia (2021) in The Royal house (2022).

The post first appeared on nos.nl

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