Warren Buffett has been diagnosed with Early Stage Prostate Cancer
April 23, 2012: Billionaire Warren Buffett, 81, has been diagnosed with the early stage prostate cancer. However, he is not giving any indication of his retirement any time soon. In fact, Mr. Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. wrote a letter to the shareholders to assure them that his condition is “not remotely life-threatening.”
His doctor and he have planned to start the two-month radiation treatment from mid July. This treatment will restrict Mr. Buffett from travelling, while his routine will not be affected at all. “I feel great — as if I were in my normal excellent health,” said Mr. Buffett. “And my energy level is 100 percent.”
According to cancer experts, the diagnosis of prostate cancer in Buffett should not be a major concern as it seems that his doctors could diagnose the disease early. Mr. Buffett was diagnosed with the disease on April 11 and underwent tests like a CAT scan, an MRI and a bone scan. He said that the tests did not show any indication of cancer anywhere else in his body.
“The chance of dying of prostate cancer for Mr. Buffett in the next 10 years is probably 2 or 3 percent, so the prognosis is great,” said Dr. Ralph deVere White (director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Davis).
The prostate cancer is very common type of cancer found in men. As per the statistics, over 241,000 new cases of prostate cancer are likely to be diagnosed this year in US. Over 90% of the prostate cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage and men suffering from this disease survive for at least 5 years.
The cancer case of the World’s 3rd wealthiest person is expected to give rise to a controversy over PSA blood tests. A leading task force of the government warns against the PSA blood tests for men older than 75 years. This is because the prostate cancer grows very slowly in older men rarely proving fatal and thus, treatment of this may unnecessarily invite side effects. As per American Cancer Society, only men in good health with the expectation of living at least 10 years are allowed to consider a PSA test.
“Mr. Buffett made a decision to get it, but that may not be the right decision for every man in that age group,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the cancer society. Moreover, any men who want to get treated at that age should have a careful conversation about the good and bad of treatment with his physician. Dr. Lichtenfeld said, “We’re becoming increasingly aware that not every man needs to be treated.”
The great investor Mr. Buffett has selected the radiation treatment that would last five days a week for six weeks. According to Dr. Sean Collins (a radiation oncologist at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown), people feel tired and are exposed to higher rate of risk of urinary and bowel problems but can work as well as live normally. “It’s kind of like kindergarten — the hardest part is showing up,” he added.
Mr. Buffett concluded his letter to the shareholders stating the fact that many prostate cancer patients die due to some other factors before the cancer actually kills them. “I will let shareholders know immediately should my health situation change,” he wrote in his letter. “Eventually, of course, it will; but I believe that day is a long way off.”
The most generous philanthropists of recent times, Mr. Warren Buffett holds stake of worth $44.6 billion in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Thus, any change in his condition will certainly affect the Berkshire Hathaway Inc.