Gov. Jerry Brown has prostate cancer

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office has just announced the 74-year-old executive is undergoing treatment for localized prostate cancer.

Dr. Eric Small, Brown’s oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco, issued the following statement: “Fortunately, this is early stage localized prostate cancer, which is being treated with a short course of conventional radiotherapy. The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects.”

Brown’s office said he’s continuing a full work schedule during the treatment, which is expected to be completed the week of January 7.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    I am no admirer of Jerry’s politics but I wish him a speedy cancer-free recovery.

  • I learned this because my dad had prostate cancer which he died from several years ago at age 97. I was told that it is preferable to do surgery before radiation because after radiation, the tissues may not heal following surgery. In other words, if he does radiation first, he does not have surgery as an option afterward. Don’t take my word for it–I am not a doctor. Check it out.. Jean Womack

  • GV Haste

    Jean, there is some truth to what you are saying, but it does not explain the entirety of the situation.
    The tissues heal after radiation but IF you subsequently want to do follow up surgery, then that operation is made more difficult because the tissues you are trying to operate on become more difficult to see and differentiate.
    However, you can still do followup surgery after radiation.

    NOTHING about prostate cancer is clear. No one knows which choices are best for a given patient.
    Most patients have 3 or 4 choices.
    Many patients should do nothing at all, however most will choose to do something.

    At Brown’s age, and we don’t know all the details, radiation sounds reasonable. Warren Buffett, age 82, recently made the very same choice.
    Both of these men certainly had all the advice available.
    Surgery is not without considerable side effects in most men who have it done.
    My father also had prostate cancer, but after 25 years, he died of something else at age 88.

    Unknown to many is that by age 75 or 80, about 80% of men have prostate cancer, though in most it goes undiagnosed and never affects their longevity.

    Anyway, bottom line, for many men, radiation is a very good option as a first choice. The radiation may be external bean radiation, or internal radiation via tiny seeds inserted into the prostate. Both are excellent choices.

    All choices, surgical, hormonal, and radiation have their own side effects.
    That is why a growing number of men choose to do no treatment at all and instead just watch the progression for some time.
    Many men choose to not even get tested and that is also a growing choice supported by many studies.

    Prostate cancer is a very messy area of medicine, with no one being sure what the best choice is.

    There is about a 95% chance that Jerry Brown will still be alive and fairly healthy by the time he finishes his 2nd term, should he choose to run again.

  • John W

    Excellent and accurate comments by GV Haste about prostate cancer detection and treatment choices for elderly men.

    Jerry Brown’s overall health and fitness, physical and mental, seems to be very good. However, this episode with prostate cancer is sure to cause some people to begin positioning to run for the office in the event Jerry chooses not to run again or appears vulnerable. 2014 will be the first time the governorship will be subject to the open primary/top two system.

    I can hear the wheels turning in Eric Swalwell’s head already! Just kidding.