Warren Buffet announced to his shareholders in an open letter that he was suffering from prostate cancer. However, he added that he was in good health and that the cancer was only in its early stages. He will begin cancer treatment and therapy in July.
Warren Buffet, is a billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. He is one of the world’s richest men. He is a Wall Street icon and continues to lives and work from Omaha, where he has a house he bought in 1958.
Prostate cancer affects about 240,000 men in the US every year. Most prostate cancers are slow growing and according to the American Cancer Society, those diagnosed can live whole lives without symptoms and treatments. Most men would die of something else before the cancer kills them, says Dr. Richard Ablin, discoverer of the PSA (prostate specific antigen).
There has been media controversy regarding why an 81-year-old man was screened for PSA. In 2008, the USPTF had recommended against routine PSA screening of men 75 years and older. The test is unreliable in older men who can have elevated PSA levels due to old age or enlargement of prostate. Even when prostate cancer is diagnosed in older men, majority of the time, it would be slow growing and would not cause harm. There is no scientific evidence that PSA screening saves lives in men above the age of 75 years.
The risks of screenings are greater for an 80 year old than a 60 year old.
Mr. Buffet has been prescribed radiation therapy. However, he would be at a greater risk of harm from treatment rather than from the cancer. Some of the side effects and risks associated with radiation treatment for prostate cancer include bleeding, incontinence, frequent urination, and erectile dysfunction.
In 2011, the USPTF took on a firmer stand against routine screening of men for prostate cancer using the PSA test. The USPTF recommends that healthy men may not be given the blood test.