Doctors: Buffett's Cancer Prognosis Looks Good

Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012 11:28 AM

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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chief Executive Warren Buffett may have caught financial markets off guard when he announced he has stage 1 prostate cancer, but medical experts say his prognosis looks good.

Over 70 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer don't die from the disease, Dr. Otis Brawley, a prostate cancer expert and the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, tells CNNMoney.

"The 5-year survival rate for stage 1 prostate cancer is over 99 percent," he adds.

Buffett's cancer is in stage 1, which means it remains confined to his prostate.
Buffett will undergo daily radiation treatment for two months beginning in July, and says his daily routine won't change although his travel will be restricted.

Radiation isn't the only treatment for stage 1 prostate cancer.

Some men undergo what's known as active surveillance, where the tumor is monitored for sudden growth but not treated.

"A good number of men with low-risk cancer of the prostate can be observed without needing to be treated," Dr. Louis Potters, chairman of radiation medicine at North Shore-LIJ in New York, tells Reuters.

"In men who are octogenarians with low-risk cancer of the prostate, where the likelihood of death is very low, the first thing that comes to mind is, can we put them on active surveillance?"

Others agree.

"Super-low-risk tumors don't need to be treated at all," says Dr. Mark Litwin, a researcher at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and chairman of the Department of Urology, Reuters adds.

What a man and his doctor choose "depends on three factors," says Litwin.
"How bad the cancer is, how healthy the patient is, and personal preference. Some patients just say 'get it out of me.'"


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