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Warren Buffett Has Early Stage Prostate Cancer
Date:4/18/2012

to be slow-growing, based on changes in levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), doctors often advise forgoing treatment and doing "watchful waiting" instead.

One expert said that, given his age, Buffett's diagnosis is not surprising. "Most men will eventually present with prostate cancer," noted Dr. Louis Kavoussi, chairman of urology at North Shore-LIJ Health System, The Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in Lake Success, N.Y. He added that, "the vast majority of men don't succumb to the disease even without treatment."

And while there's not enough information available for Kavoussi to accurately assess Buffett's prognosis, the "statistics are definitely on his side," he said.

Another urologist said each patient must weigh the pros and cons of treatment options.

"Some men have greater fear of the disease, while others are more fearful of the complications of treatment," explained Dr. Herbert Lepor, chairman of urology at NYU Langone Medical Center and a professor of urology at NYU School of Medicine in New York City. "Therefore, a very healthy 81-year-old man with an intermediate or highly aggressive prostate cancer is likely to live long enough to develop significant complications from their cancer and succumb to the disease. If the goal is to avoid the consequences of the [progression of] prostate cancer in this setting, curative treatment with surgery or radiation is reasonable, providing the complications of treatment are clearly delineated."

In his letter to investors, Buffett noted that his condition at the present time is good. "I feel great -- as if I were in my normal excellent health -- and my energy level is 100 percent," he said.

More information

For more on prostate cancer, go to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- E.J. Mundell

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