April 19, 2012

IT'S AESTHETICS, NOT MEDICINE:

Warren Buffett's Cancer Decoded (Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, 4/18/12, Daily Beast)

Warren Buffett announced Tuesday that he has Stage 1 prostate cancer, a disease that untreated has an extremely high 5-year survival rate. Per the report, he will begin radiation therapy to reduce the risk that the cancer will spread. [...]

It also raised the larger issue of whether his treatment fits his disease. Finding stage I prostate cancer in an 81-year-old is like finding gray hair in an 81-year-old. As Forbes reported, about 80% of 80-year-old men have some detectable amount of prostate cancer if autopsied. So Buffett the person was neither under- nor overperforming. He was doing what most 81-year-old guys do. Assuming the reports that the cancer is limited to stage I are true, the real question is why he opted for a relatively aggressive approach (radiation is no picnic) for a condition that, left untreated but observed closely, was unlikely to cause him much harm. 
Posted by at April 19, 2012 5:52 AM
  
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