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Defense Secretary Austin Leaves Hospital After Prostate Cancer Surgery Complications
  • Posted January 16, 2024

Defense Secretary Austin Leaves Hospital After Prostate Cancer Surgery Complications

Following two weeks of hospital care for complications from prostate cancer surgery, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Pentagon announced Monday.

"Secretary Austin progressed well throughout his stay and his strength is rebounding," Walter Reed Trauma Director Dr. John Maddox and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, director of the Center for Prostate Disease Research at the hospital, said in a Pentagon statement. "He underwent a series of medical tests and evaluations and received non-surgical care during his stay to address his medical needs, to include resolving some lingering leg pains. He was discharged home with planned physical therapy and regular follow-up. The Secretary is expected to make a full recovery."

Austin thanked his doctors after being released.

“I'm grateful for the excellent care I received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and want to thank the outstanding doctors and nursing staff for their professionalism and superb support,” Austin said in a separate statement. “I also am thankful and appreciative for all the well wishes I received for a speedy recovery.”

"Now, as I continue to recuperate and perform my duties from home, I'm eager to fully recover and return as quickly as possible to the Pentagon," he added.

After having a prostatectomy on Dec. 22, Austin was in severe pain and rushed by ambulance to Walter Reed on Jan. 1, the New York Times reported. He was placed in intensive care, but top Pentagon officials did not learn of the hospitalization until the next day, while the White House was not notified until Jan. 4. Neither Pentagon nor White House officials learned until last Tuesday that Austin had been diagnosed with cancer in early December, the Times reported.

Still, “Secretary Austin's prostate cancer was treated early and effectively, and his prognosis is excellent,” the Walter Reed doctors said.

Prostate cancer strikes 1 in every 8 men -- and 1 in every 6 Black men -- during their lifetime, the Pentagon statement said. Early detection and treatment can boost survival rates to 100% when treated with individualized care plans. Early screening is critical and men should talk to their doctors to see whether or when they should be screened.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Pentagon, news release, Jan. 15, 2024; New York Times

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