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Warren Buffett's Cancer And What It Means For Investors

Apr. 20, 2012 2:47 PM ETISRG, TGX, VAR2 Comments
Robert Freedland profile picture
Robert Freedland

There has been a great deal of discussion about the news of Warren Buffett and his Stage I Prostate cancer revelation. Certainly a lot of the discussion in the investment community has been about succession of his leadership at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A). But the reality is that Buffett will likely do well. He is 81 and his Stage I diagnosis means that the cancer is found only in the prostate, and if found by needle biopsy, the PSA is lower than 10, and generally has a Gleason score (if known) of 6 or less.

Fortunately for Buffett and shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, those with Stage 1 cancer generally do quite well. Prostate cancer is not a rare disorder as the latest statistics (2007) showed that 223,307 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and that in that same year 29,093 men died from the disease. Even with these statistics, there is still some controversy about the benefits of screening with regular PSA testing as the treatment has its own share of morbidity.

For those who choose to treat early-stage cancer of the prostate, there are several options that are available. These include surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) which may allow for actual pathologic examination and more accurate Staging, or radiation of the prostate gland. The surgical option may be broken down into 'open' or more traditional radical prostate surgery or small-incision robot-guided prostatectomy. The radiation route may also be broken down further into external beam irradiation or implantation of radioactive 'seeds' into the prostate gland itself.

Advanced prostate cancer treatment involves other modalities including hormonal manipulation and chemotherapy. And experimental treatments with immunotherapy remain costly but may extend the lives of patients by months or years.

I write this to provide investors with some background about Prostate Cancer; understanding the treatment

This article was written by

Robert Freedland profile picture
Robert Freedland is a medical professional by trade and an amateur investor who has been blogging on Stock Pick Bob's Advice since 2003. He has been investing in the stock market for 46 years, having made his first purchase at the age of 13 of five shares of Global Marine in September 1967. He enjoys sharing his philosophy and perspective on investing, both by blogging and podcasting. Visit Bob's blog: Stock Pick Bob's Advice (http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstocks/). Since 2009, he has been managing portfolios on Covestor, which now include Growth and Momentum (http://covestor.com/robert-freedland/growth-and-momentum), Sustained Momentum (http://covestor.com/robert-freedland/sustained-momentum), Healthcare (http://covestor.com/robert-freedland/healthcare) and Large Cap Momentum (http://covestor.com/robert-freedland/large-cap-momentum).

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