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California Governor’s Prostate Cancer ‘Early Stage,’ Doctor Says

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Jerry Brown is being treated with radiation for early prostate cancer, one of the most common forms of the disease affecting American men.

Brown, a 74-year-old Democrat, will continue a full work schedule during the treatment, which will be completed the week of Jan. 7, according to a statement released by his office.

“Fortunately, this is early-stage, localized prostate cancer, which is being treated with a short course of conventional radiotherapy,” Eric Small, Brown’s oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said yesterday in the statement. “The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects.”

Local stage means that there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate, according to the American Cancer Society’s website. The gland is part of the male reproductive system.

About 241,740 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and it will kill about 28,170 men, according to the cancer society. The disease is the second-deadliest cancer for men, after lung cancer. The vast majority of cases are discovered in the earliest stages, where survival for more than five years is almost 100 percent.

Most Frequent

“For men in Governor Brown’s age group, prostate cancer is the most frequent tumor that we find,” Mark Litwin, chairman of the urology department at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in an interview. “The overwhelming majority of them live out perfectly happy, healthy lives that are fully productive with no significant impact at all from the cancer.”

Among prostate-cancer survivors are Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, and Andy Grove, former chief executive officer of the world’s largest computer chipmaker, Intel Corp.

Prostate tumors tend to be low-risk, low-grade nuisances at worst and are effectively treated with radiation, surgery or other means, Litwin said.

“The majority of men who have prostate cancer age through their lives and die with it, and not of it,” Litwin said. “It sounds as though Governor Brown has a tumor of that type.”

Brown had surgery last year to remove a basal cell carcinoma from the right side of his nose. The procedure was performed as an outpatient with local anesthetic and required some reconstructive surgery, his office said at the time.

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