Billionaire Buffet Beat Cancer
- Warren Buffet beat prostate cancer in 2012 following radiation therapy.
- Buffet thankfully caught the cancer very early, when it was deemed non-life-threatening.
- His story highlights the need for early screenings, and how catching it early affects treatment options.
Related: Billionaire Warren Buffett Battled Prostate Cancer Eight Years Ago, And Is Still Going Strong — Options For Men That Are Low RiskRead More
The DiagnosisCatching the disease early helped Buffet’s successful outcome. He was diagnosed in April 2012 and successfully completed treatments in September 2012. When Buffet first got his diagnosis, the cancer was in the early stages of development, and thus deemed not life-threatening.
Early ScreeningAs Buffet has shown, early screening for prostate cancer is critically important. Dr. James Brooks, Chief of Urologic Oncology at Stanford Medicine, tells SurvivorNet that “For prostate cancer, screening saves lives, family history can matter a lot, but you should also understand that leading doctors in the field debate when men actually need screening.”
Related: If You Have a Family History of Prostate Cancer, Get Screened Early
The debate that exists around screening timing complicates matters. Thus, it’s important to be proactive about one’s health and take charge for yourself. If something feels off to you, it may well be so. Genetics play a part, too. So know your family’s cancer history.
“It’s estimated that five to ten percent of prostate cancer can run in families,” says Dr. Brooks. This means that if you have a close family member who has had prostate cancer, the risk of your getting it as well could be double the standard rate of risk. Men who have family members who have had prostate cancer also tend to get the disease at a younger age. If you fit this genetic profile, you should start screening for the disease as early as age 45. Speak to your doctor about what may be right for you.
Prostate cancer is detected by way of exams and a PSA test, which is a blood test that screens for the cancer (and can track a patient’s response to cancer treatment. PSA (protein-specific antigen) is secreted by the prostate gland. Large amount of PSA in one’s body can indicate that cancer cells are growing.
Related: PSA Test Is Not Perfect–But It Is Helpful
Buffet underwent radiation treatment, and other treatment options exist, too. Surgery is possible for this type of cancer, and its efficacy will depend on the stage of the cancer. Speak with your doctor about the best option for you and your body.
Related: Prostate Cancer Survivor Mandy Patinkin, 67, Keeps Quarantine Silly & Fun With His Family
Treatment options will generally be assessed on the basis of risk-level of the cancer: Low risk, Intermediate risk, and High risk. The risk group classification will generally inform what type of treatment is best, as will factors like age, overall health, life expectancy, and goals for treatment.
The most common treatment options for prostate cancer include:
- Radiation therapy
- Active surveillance of the cancer
- A combination of radiation therapy, along with hormonal therapy
- Surgery followed by radiation therapy
Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
It’s important to know your family’s background when it comes to cancer, and to also be attentive to all the primary risk factors for prostate cancer. They include:
- Family History
Why You May Have a Greater Risk When it Comes to Prostate Cancer
Black men face more than double the rate of death from prostate cancer as non-Black men. This deeply troubling statistic highlights the disparities that exist in cancer treatment for minorities and the need for greater clinical trials and increased screening availability.
Related: Minorities Are Missing Out On Life-Saving Cancer Care & Clinical Trials: 4 Changes Needed to Help Fix This Problem
Age plays a part, too, in prostate cancer risk factor. As men hit the big 6-0, their risk of prostate cancer increases significantly, so regular screenings and PSA tests are imperative.
Warren Buffet, who is now 90, is a role model in many ways – the billionaire has pledged to give most of his money away to charitable causes, for instance – and what makes him a role model to us his how he faced his cancer diagnosis with vulnerability, honestly, and strength.
He may have a good head for money, but his heart is what won us over.
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