Warren Buffet is a model of successful investment strategy, but we’d caution men not to follow his treatment strategy in response to a diagnosis of early-stage prostate cancer.
At age 81, Buffet has decided to undergo radiation treatment for stage-one (localized) cancer of the prostate gland. Because the disease detected at this stage is typically slow-growing — most often so slow-growing that it never becomes harmful — doctors generally recommend “watchful waiting” instead of an immediate course of treatment or surgical removal. In fact, because it is so uncommon for stage-one prostate cancer to develop into a serious health concern, most experts believe that it does not merit the significant complications, such as incontinence and impotence, that often result from treatment. This was the logic behind the 2011 recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which states that healthy men over 50 years of age should no longer routinely receive a PSA blood test to screen for prostate cancer: The task force’s review of decades-long clinical trials determined that screening without specific indication was much more likely to do harm than good.
More from the American Council on Science and Health.