ABC News ran a very well done report on the effect that billionaire investor, Warren Buffett’s decision to undergo radiation therapy for his prostate cancer.
Except for the fact that Buffett is worth as much as 50 billion dollars, this wouldn’t be news. That is, until you realize that most older men (Buffett is over 80 years old) who are diagnosed early are told by their doctors to skip treatment altogether.
Statistics clearly show that most older Americans are probably better off to do nothing–that the treatment is often more dangerous than doing nothing.
Buffett’s cancer has an 100% five year survival rate. So why treat it at all?
Here is the first part of a comprehensive article I found on ABC’s website:
Is Warren Buffett’s Cancer Treatment Necessary?By Jane E. Allen – ABC News Medical UnitApril 18, 2012
Warren Buffett’s decision to undergo radiation therapy for stage 1 prostate cancer has refocused attention on a debate over screening and treating older men for a disease that most often won’t kill them.
Prostate cancer specialists worry that because the high-profile, 81-year-old billionaire has chosen two months of daily radiation treatments, other men automatically will “assume that must be the right treatment and it must be good for me,” said Dr. Peter Scardino, chairman of the surgery department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
“Generally, in a person over 80 years old, you’d be very hesitant to treat a prostate cancer unless it’s clearly life-threatening,” Scardino said. “Doctors caution men [that] at that age prostate cancer is very common. Most of the time it’s not dangerous to their life or health. It’s unusual, in our experience, to treat someone over 80, although I’ve done it.”
Of course, no doctor wants to second-guess Buffett’s decision, especially without at least two key pieces of information that he didn’t disclose when he announced his diagnosis Tuesday: his PSA score and his Gleason score, both of which help determine whether cancer is low-risk or high-risk, Scardino and other top prostate specialists said…
You can read more–and view a collection of news story about Buttett’s cancer–by going to: What you should know about prostate cancer.
I don’t have an opinion one way or the other. Wait. I take that back. I would probably consider a fairly non-invasive therapy like radiation. After all, human nature leads us to want to take some type of action.
Many experts would argue that this is the wrong approach. Right or wrong, I just know that one of the hardest things to do after a cancer diagnosis is NOTHING.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat