Rudy Giuliani's Battle With Prostate Cancer

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the year 2000 at age 55. He was diagnosed after undergoing a routine screening PSA test, which showed that his PSA had risen substantially. He subsequently underwent a prostate biopsy, which came back positive for prostate cancer.

In an interview later that year, Giuliani recounted how he had been somewhat confused initially by the "positive" result from his biopsy. Similar to many patients who do not have a medical background, Giuliani was confused by the terms "positive" and "negative" when referring to a medical test such as a biopsy. In this case, Giuliani's positive result meant that cancer was found in the biopsy. A negative result would have meant that the biopsy showed no cancer.

Prior to his diagnosis, Giuliani was already quite aware of the dangers of prostate cancer as his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the 1970s. According to Giuliani, his father's cancer was not caught at an early stage and subsequently took his life at the age of 73.

Making the Treatment Decision

Giuliani's cancer was diagnosed at an early stage and he was presented with several options for treatment. Upon being presented with his treatment options (which, per Giuliani, were surgery, external beam radiation, brachytherapy, and hormones) he took roughly 2 weeks to weigh his options and make a decision.

Ultimately, Giuliani chose a somewhat unconventional treatment regimen, which included hormonal therapy, radioactive seed implants, and external beam radiation. Typically, men choose a single primary treatment option and then are monitored after that point for recurrence.

Since Treatment

Since his diagnosis and treatment, Giuliani has remained under surveillance for prostate cancer recurrence. He has stated in the past that he remains disease free.

Giuliani attributed his early prostate cancer detection to the routine screening PSA test that he had been given and has subsequently spoken about the importance of routine screening for prostate cancer as well as government funding for cancer screening. He has taken part in numerous campaigns to raise awareness about prostate cancer.

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Article Sources

  • Giuliani Press Conference, April 2000