Famous billionaire investor Warren Buffetthas been diagnosed with stage-1 prostate cancer, according to The Huff Post.
The 81-year-old billionaire revealed that he has stage one prostate cancer in a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, but said his condition “is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way”.
“I feel great – as if I were in my normal excellent health,” Buffett said in the letter. “And my energy level is 100 percent. I discovered the cancer because my PSA level (an indicator my doctors had regularly checked for many years) recently jumped beyond its normal elevation and a biopsy seemed warranted.”
Buffett said he was diagnosed April 11 and has received tests including a CAT scan, a bone scan and an MRI. He added that the scans that detected the prostate cancer “showed no incidence of cancer elsewhere in my body.”
According to The Telegraph, Buffett said he will begin a two-month treatment consisting of daily radiation treatments in mid-July. This will limit his ability to travel during that time, he said in the statement.
Doctors say Buffett has a very good prognosis, given the disease’s early stage, some even questioned whether he needed treatment at all given his age.
Buffett’s successor is a constant topic of speculation among the financial community. Buffett told investors in late February that Berkshire had identified his successor, but declined to say who it was – and admitted that even the chosen one does not know, himself, reports Reuters.
The billionaire told CBS’ 60 Minutes that he wants his son Howard to become a “non-executive chairman” of the company his death. The position would give Howard a role in directing the strategy of the company, but he wouldn’t be paid.
The news about Buffett’s cancer comes one day after Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked the “Buffett rule,” a tax on millionaires whose idea was born of a now-famous editorial Buffett wrote in the New York Times last year, where he said that the rich had an obligation to pay more income tax.
That debate involved Buffett’s secretary as well. After he said she paid more taxes than he did, President Barack Obama invited Debbie Bosanek to attend this year’s State of the Union address.
About 240,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. But if one in six American men will get prostate cancer, only one in 36 will die of it, according to the American Cancer Society.
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. “The cancer is in a very curable stage.”
Many prostate cancer patients with slow-growing tumors can live their whole lives without symptoms or treatment. Many die of something else before the cancer kills them.
Buffett finished his letter with a nod to that fact.
“I will let shareholders know immediately should my health situation change,” he wrote. “Eventually, of course, it will; but I believe that day is a long way off.”
Berkshire shares fell 1.5 percent in after-hours trading following Buffett’s announcement. The widely held Class B shares are up 5.9 percent year-to-date, half the gains of the broader S&P 500.
Berkshire investor said nothing had actually changed with regards to the stock.
“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.
“He’s mortal, we knew that,” said Jeff Matthews, author of the book “Secrets in Plain Sight.” “I think it means zero for Berkshire investors. He’s been getting the company ready for the day he dies.”