Billionaires are mortal just like the rest of us

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An 81-year-old man being diagnosed with prostate cancer isn't news -- urologists say that just about every man who lives long enough will get prostate cancer, but most men will die with, not of the disease.

In fact, last year 240,890 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, and 33,270 men died of it.

When the 81-year-old man is one of the three richest in the world, however, unsurprising news is news indeed. Warren Buffett was worth $62 billion in 2008, making him the richest in the world, before he gave away $37 billion to charity.

But he's still in the game at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway, to the tune of $44.6 billion, and anything that affects thousands of wealthy investors is news.

Buffett's announcement about his health generated renewed interest in his succession plan -- one successor has been chosen and there are two backup candidates.

The "Oracle of Omaha" says his "energy level is 100 percent" and treatment shouldn't affect his daily routine, other that restrict some travel this summer.

And, while one expert put his chances of dying of prostate cancer in the next 10 years is 2 or 3 percent, that doesn't erase Buffett's 81 years and other associated threats.

Experts credit early diagnosis for Buffett's prognosis -- it was detected by one of his regular PSA tests and confirmed with a biopsy.

In the end, billionaires face the same mortality as the rest of us, and early diagnosis offers the best prospect for extending our years on this earth.

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  • Cancer, regardless of the type, is a life changing event to the individual and the family. McCook Community Hospital is having a Help Fight Cancer walk and road race soon. I urge your participation and/or support.

    -- Posted by dennis on Wed, Apr 18, 2012, at 2:58 PM
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