Ryan O’Neal Prostate Cancer Diagnosis: Updates

Ryan O’Neal Prostate Cancer Diagnosis. The famous Love Story actor announces that he’s been diagnosed with the dreaded ‘male’ cancer, even as doubts linger over both prostate cancer vaccine Provenge and PSA blood tests used to diagnose it.

It’s been barely three years since “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett lost died at 62 after losing a three-year battle with anal cancer — and now her long-time boyfriend, actor Ryan O’Neal, has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In an exclusive statement send to People on April 15, O’Neal says, “Recently I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. Although I was shocked and stunned by the news, I feel fortunate that it was detected early and according to my extraordinary team of doctors the prognosis is positive for a full recovery.”

O’Neal continued, “I am deeply grateful for the support of my friends and family during this time, and I urge everyone to get regular check-ups, as early detection is the best defense against this horrible disease that has affected so many.”

The 70-year-old actor is no stranger to cancer, having successfully battled leukemia in recent years. His memoir about his life together with Fawcett, “Both of Us,” comes out on May 1.

Prostate cancer is a common cause of death in the United States and Europe and the second most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. It’s less common in Asia and Africa.

In the U.S., around 240,890 cases were diagnosed and 33,720 men died of it last year. In the UK, some 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, and around 10,000 will die of it.

A gland found below a man’s bladder that produces fluid for semen, cancer in this gland is rare in men younger than 40.

Problems in passing urine — pain and difficulty starting or stopping the stream or dribbling — as well as low back pain and painful ejaculation, are some of the symptoms of this cancer.

Treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer, determined by how fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer are typical treatments.

Prostate cancer diagnosis and treatments racked by controversy
But unlike other cancers — anal or cervical cancer, as well as breast cancer — where diagnosis and treatment nowadays is pretty much routine and straightforward, prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment has been racking up controversy in recent months.

Late last year, for instance, a United States federal panel concluded that tests done to screen for prostate cancer actually caused men more harm than good.

Doubts loom over prostate cancer vaccine Provenge
Now, a new article by prominent American science writer Sharon Begley details growing controversy over the unique cancer vaccine Provenge — a tale that’s too ‘cloak-and-dagger’ for one involving a cancer and its treatment. [Read more about Provenge in Provenge Anti-Prostate Cancer Drug.]

Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Provenge for advanced prostate cancer in April 2010, “doctors who raised doubts about it received death threats. Health regulators and lawmakers faced loud protests at their offices. A physician at the American Cancer Society was so intimidated by Provenge partisans that he yanked a skeptical discussion of it from his blog,” writes Begley in a March 30 article for Reuters Health.

While the stormy debates subsided after the FDA approval of Provenge — known chemically as sipuleucel-T — debate has been reignited by a recent disclosure of Marie Huber, a trained scientist and former hedge-fund analyst. Huber claims that the main reason the drug extended prostate cancer survival in clinical trials was that older men in the study who did not receive Provenge died months sooner than similar patients in other studies — and that this was due to a placebo that harmed them. Extending survival was a crucial factor in the FDA’s decision to approve the drug.