Bill Walker, the Alaska Governor has recently announced that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He has stated that doctors have high expectations of full recovery after the surgery will be performed. However, this new announcement has reignited some debate regarding the utility of prostate screenings and exams.
The Alaska Governor made the announcement a press conference surrounded by his wife and the rest of his family. According to, Grace Jang, the communications director, the governor has been confirmed with prostate cancer after a blood test and routine physical exam. This routine checkup allowed for the early detection of cancer which doctors can remove through surgery that has a high chance of success. The surgery will take place in December.
The Attorney General of Alaska has suggested that the governor won’t be required to transfer power to the Lt. gov. during his treatment. However, he won’t be available for official state business during his recovery period. However, until then, he will continue his daily duties as governor as the disease has not affected his capacity in any way.
After the governor’s announcement, lawmakers in the Alaska State House, both Democrat, and Republican, have come together and urged people to take a routine screening test in order to increase the chance of survival in case they may be suffering from the disease.
The governor’s case has reignited the debate regarding the value of prostate cancer screenings by using a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood. This method is only one of the two most common ways to detect and diagnose this type of cancer. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended doctors to avoid PSA screenings in men that do not show any symptoms of the disease because it may lead to false positives and further complications.
For this reason, urologists have adopted the other cancer screening method which involves a process known as shared decision-making for men with ages between 55 to 69. This method implied a greater involvement from the patients with testing being based on a man’s preferences and values. However, they don’t recommend routine checkups for men under the age of 55 years old.
Have you ever been tested for prostate cancer?
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