Greater Boston Urology Blog

Prostate Cancer: When You're Diagnosed with a Funky Walnut

Thanks to the pandemic, we've been watching a lot of Netflix, like everyone else on the planet. One of the shows we recently caught up with is the Netflix Original Grace and Frankie. Below is the trailer if you're not familiar with the show.


We were particularly struck by season 6, episode 4 titled "The Funky Walnut" where Sol (Sam Waterston) and Robert (Martin Sheen) go to Sol's doctor (Elliott Gould) for a discussion about Sol's recent prostate cancer diagnosis

DOCTOR: Now, we've caught it early. It's indolent, so it's slow-growing, which is terrific.

SOL: It's terrific?

ROBERT: But it's cancer. Sol has cancer.

While Gould's character doesn't try to diminish the seriousness of Sol's prostate cancer diagnosis, he also attempts to put it in perspective, given that Sol is 75.

DOCTOR: "Sol, I want you to think of your prostate like this walnut. <holds up walnut> You've got a funky walnut, that's all. It's fairly common at your age."

The doctor then outlines the various treatment options (of which there are many), including active surveillance, which involves keeping a close eye on the "funky walnut" and monitoring it for any changes.

DOCTOR: "The good news is at your age something else'll probably kill you first."

And Sol quips: "Do you understand the term 'good news'?"

The doctor goes on to say that the decision ultimately lies with Sol.

DOCTOR: "I'd let it ride. But you're a healthy guy. And it's your walnut."

We love that last line: It's your walnut.

When giving a prostate cancer diagnosis, your physician's job is to outline your options and provide an expert medical opinion based on your specific situation—in other words, based on your walnut. Luckily with prostate cancer, myriad treatment options exist. When prostate cancer is caught early enough and the diagnosis happens later in life (like in Sol's case), outcomes can be incredibly positive and encouraging.

We won't tell you what Sol decides to do in this episode of Grace and Frankie. It's worth watching to see the many real emotions that Sol and his husband Robert go through as they decide what's best for Sol and his funky walnut.

Bottom line: Worried about your funky walnut?

Reach out to your physician or schedule an appointment with one of our urologists. You can also check out our roundup of prostate cancer resources.

Subscribe to Blog via Email