One of the world's richest men, Warren Buffett, 81, dropped a bomb tonight -- he has cancer. Only it wasn't the explosive kind of bomb that rocks people to their core when they hear the "C" word. Rather it was more like a tiny little firecracker that just emits a small pop.
Though cancer of any kind isn't something insignificant, the type he has -- early stage prostate cancer -- is one of the most treatable and least deadly of all cancers. In a press release, he offered reassurance that his condition is "not remotely life-threatening."
Experts seem to agree, and one doctor told the Associated Press that Buffett's chance of dying from prostate cancer in the next year is only 2-3 percent. They called his prognosis "great."
So while no one ever wants to hear the word cancer, if you're going to hear it, this is the best way to do so. And plenty of men do. According to the American Cancer Society:
- About 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2012.
- About 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
They also say that prostate cancer usually occurs in older men -- almost two-thirds are diagnosed after age 65. But it is also the second leading cause of cancer death in men (behind lung cancer), so there certainly can be more serious consequences when the disease is found in later stages.
Hopefully for Buffett he'll continue feeling as great as he says he does now, and he'll continue leading Berkshire Hathaway for many more years. He plans to start two months of radiation treatment in July (a controversial treatment decision), and while it will affect his travel schedule, he says it won't affect his typical routine. Perhaps, however, this little jolt of health news will also prompt him to be more forthcoming with the name of his successor as investors will certainly be looking toward the future with slightly more curious eyes.
Have you had a friend or relative diagnosed with prostate cancer?
Image via MedillDC/Flickr