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Prostate cancer diagnoses for Warren Buffett, Ryan O'Neal

Warren Buffett, 81 year old Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO, announced he has been diagnosed with Stage I prostate cancer. His announcement follows the recent diagnosis of actor, 70 year old, Ryan O'Neal, with Stage II prostate cancer. O'Neal reports his cancer is under “control” and Buffett reports his cancer is treatable and will begin daily radiation treatment in July.

Ryan O'Neal has been diagnosed with Stage II prostate cancer
Jason Merritt / Getty Images
Warren Buffett has been diagnosed with Stage I prostate cancer
Theo Wargo / Getty Images

The American Cancer Society reports prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men other than skin cancer, and estimates nearly 242,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2012. The prostate cancer toll in Michigan is high as well. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in Michigan.

There are four stages of prostate cancer. As prostate cancer progresses from Stage I to Stage IV, the cancer cells grow within the prostate, through the outer layer of the prostate into nearby tissue, and then to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. The four stages of prostate cancer are:

Stage I:

  • Cancer is found in the prostate only
  • Cancer is typically found in one-half or less of one lobe of the prostate

Stage II:

  • Cancer is more advanced than in Stage I, but has not spread outside the prostate

Stage III:

  • Cancer has spread beyond the outer layer of the prostate on one or both sides and may have spread to the seminal vesicles

Stage IV:

  • Cancer has spread beyond the seminal vesicles to nearby tissue or organs, such as the rectum, bladder, or pelvic wall or spread to the lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body and bones

Risk factors for developing prostate cancer include increased age, African American race, and family history of prostate cancer.

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