Why Dr. David Samadi Would have Treated Mitt Romney’s Prostate Cancer Surgically

Dr. David Samadi came to the US as a refugee from Iran. He fled Iran in 1979 after the revolution. Upon arriving in America in 1984 he decided to go into medicine.

In 1994 he graduated SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine with an MD. He completed post-graduate work at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. David Samadi studied urology at the former and proctology at the latter. He studied oncology at Memorial Sloane Kettering and robotic radical prostatectomy at France’s Henri Mondor Hospital Creteil.

Today, Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist heading the Urology and Robotic Surgery departments at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York. When Mitt Romney was diagnosed with prostate cancer he had to choose between a prostatectomy or radiation. Had Dr. David Samadi been treating Romney Dr. Samadi would have recommended the prostatectomy, assuming the cancer was limited to the prostate.

Romney received the cancer diagnosis when he was 70. That is about the average age for a prostate cancer diagnosis. Sixty-percent of prostate cancer patients are 65 or older.

This is Dr. Samadi’s rationale for choosing surgery over radiation treatments. The survival rate for the surgical patient is close to 100%. Patients who undergo radiation treatment are twice as likely to die from their prostate cancer. Radiation patients have a shorter life expectancy post-treatment than surgery patients. There is a 70% that a patient will die within five years of undergoing radiation treatment.

Radiation treatments can lead to cancer developing in other parts of the body like the rectum or bladder. Surgical intervention for prostate cancer that reoccurs after radiation treatments is much more difficult.

Last year there were 161,360 cases of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society is projecting an increase in the number of cases of prostate cancer diagnosed this year. The ACS estimates 164,690 prostate cancer diagnosis this year.

Other political figures who have had prostate cancer are Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell and Former Presidential Candidate and Governor of Massachusettes John Kerry. Kerry was diagnosed while on the campaign trail in 2002. General Powell received his diagnosis a year later.

Powell and Kerry both chose prostatectomy. Fifteen and sixteen years later respectively both men remain prostate cancer free.

Dr. David Samadi’s accolades include being recognized by Castle Connoly as one of America’s Top Doctors. New York Magazine placed him on their Best Doctors List.

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