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Warren Buffett has prostate cancer

Danielle Adams

Warren Buffett

Says it’s “not remotely life-threatening”

Warren Buffett, the world’s third-richest man, has announced that he has stage 1 prostate cancer, but is not worried about it.

The Berkshire Hathaway Inc Chief Executive says his condition “is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way.” The 81-year-old Warren Buffett will begin a two-month treatment consisting of daily radiation treatments starting in mid-July. This should not influence his daily life but will limit his ability to travel during that time.

One in six American men will get prostate cancer, but only one in 36 will die of it, according to the American Cancer Society. 80 percent of men older than 80 have some form of prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, but many of them do not know it. Even if they do know, in many cases, the tumor progresses so slowly that it doesn’t need treatment. Instead, doctors simply monitor to make sure that it doesn’t begin progressing too rapidly, a process known as watchful waiting or active surveillance.

Any man diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer “has an excellent long-term prognosis,” said Jonathan Wright, a urological oncologist at the University of Washington and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Even at Warren Buffett’s age, “the cancer is in a very curable stage.”

Warren Buffett told investors in late February that Berkshire had identified his successor but declined to say who it was. Last year Buffett wrote an editorial in the New York Times saying the rich had an obligation to pay more income tax, adding that his secretary paid more taxes than he did.

Berkshire shares fell 1.5 percent after that announcement.

“Despite the news, this is not a reason to sell (Berkshire). Fundamentals are still good at the company and the clear succession plan does give clarity about the future path of the firm,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of Destination Wealth Management in California.

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