Defense Secretary Has 'Excellent' Prognosis After Prostate Cancer Treatment, Docs Say

By   |  January 29, 2024

By Robin Foster HealthDay Reporter  |  Copyright © 2024 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

MONDAY, Jan. 29, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will not need any more treatment for his prostate cancer and his prognosis is "excellent," his doctors say.

The news came after a follow-up appointment Austin had at Walter Reed National Military Center on Friday.

“Beyond planned physical therapy and regular post-prostatectomy follow-up appointments, he has no planned further treatment for his cancer,” Walter Reed trauma medical director Dr. John Maddox and Murtha Cancer Center director Dr. Gregory Chesnut said in a statement released Friday.

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer in December, the 70-year-old spent two weeks in the hospital following complications from a prostatectomy.

Despite those complications, “his cancer was treated early and effectively, and his prognosis is excellent,” his doctors added.

Austin is expected to return to work at the Pentagon on Monday, a defense official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Austin made his first public appearance last week during a virtual Ukraine contact defense group meeting, the AP reported.

When Austin first had a prostatectomy to treat his cancer on Dec. 22, he was under general anesthesia during the procedure and had transferred some authorities to his deputy defense secretary Kathleen Hicks, the AP reported. He was discharged the next day and continued to perform his duties.

But on Jan. 1, Austin was taken by ambulance to Walter Reed in extreme pain and was admitted to the intensive care unit a day later. He stayed there for two weeks while doctors treated the complications.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the United States.

But the risk of prostate cancer is not spread equally, Dr. William Dahut, chief scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, told CNN.

Black men are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men, and they're more than twice as likely to die from the disease.

“It’s a greater incidence, but also a much greater mortality,” Dahut said. “So generally, around the age of 40, Black men should talk to their physicians about screening.”

More information

Visit the American Cancer Society for more on prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Pentagon, news release, Jan. 26, 2024; Associated Press; CNN