June 18th, 2010
09:09 AM ET

Country singer reveals he has prostate cancer

By Miriam Falco
CNN Medical New Managing Editor

Singer, songwriter and former lead singer of the legendary country-music band Alabama, Randy Owen, was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year, according to a published report released Thursday.

He revealed his condition at a meeting of his fan club in Fort Payne, Alabama, last weekend.

According to a press release, the 60-year old award-winning singer and songwriter was found to have an elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) level during a routine physical. According to the National Cancer Institute, “The amount of PSA may be higher in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or infection or inflammation of the prostate.”

Dr. Ronald Wheeler, director of the Diagnostic Center for Disease in Sarasota, Florida, and one of Owen’s physicians, says Owen was treated with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).

“Standard of care for prostate cancer is radiation and surgery” says Dr. Brantley Thrasher.

He adds prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer and sometimes watchful waiting is the recommended treatment.  Thrasher is the chairman of Urology at the University of Kansas and spokesman for the American Urological Association.

He says HIFU is not common in the United States because it still being tested in this country.  The American Cancer Society agrees. On its website, the group describes it this way:  “One promising treatment, known as high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), destroys cancer cells by heating them with highly focused ultrasonic beams. While it has been used more in Europe, it is not commonly used in the United States at this time. Studies are now going on to find out if it is safe and effective."

Thrasher says prostate cancer is very treatable nowadays if caught early, so he says the message here for men is: Get tested and have a conversation with someone who knows about all the treatment options.

Owen says he plans to resume his concert tour to promote his latest solo album in mid-September, according to the published report.

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soundoff (891 Responses)
  1. HIFU

    Theres a number of physicians that utilize HIFU to treat prostate cancer in the U.S. – though treatment is overseas.


    Clinical trials are expected to complete in a few years.

    June 18, 2010 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. John

    Here we go again, the medical establishment will not give up its financial hold on procedures they perform, to embrace a new and promising alternative. No wonder they do it in Europe, it works....

    June 18, 2010 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. NKM

    I really enjoyed Alabama's music back in the '80s. Sorry to hear he is facing this disease, but as the article says, it is highly treatable when caught early, so best wishes for a quick recovery!

    June 18, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Susan obryan

    The surest treatment is removal if it has not spread outside the Prostrate Gland. The younger you are the more likely it is that it is the fast-growing type that can cause death at an earlier age. It is hard for any man to have his prostrate removed but better than losing your life. Earlier detection now with the PSA can save lives.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. missrozita

    My Dad had prostate cancer 10+ years ago. Because they only watched him from the waist down, he eventually got breast cancer, and that's what ended up killing him...

    June 18, 2010 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. NancyLV

    I wish Randy best wishes. I love Alabama they were the group. Can't wait to hear his new album.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mamaw

    So, my take from this article is that if a man finds he has prostate cancer he should go to England for treatment, since he can't get the best treatment here.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Linda

    I am so happy Randy is doing well.

    My brother had the same thing and is now doing well.

    I have been a fan of Randy/Alabama's for the past 30+ years.

    God bless you, Randy and goo health!!

    June 18, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Linda

    Sorry–should have been GOOD health!

    June 18, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Terri

    My dad opted for the same therapy Randy Owen is having instead of surgery. 5 years after treatment, the cancer spread to his bones and he died less than 6 months later. All of the men I know who have died from prostate cancer didn't have surgery. I wish him the best.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Timbo

    At 53, I found out I had prostate cancer 6 years ago. Surgery 5 years ago. There have been some burps (ED), but Levitra works just fine. I am cancer free now and hope to remain that way. Best advice, no matter what your age, get your PSA checked, and keep track of it. It killed Dennis Hopper, but likely because he never had it checked until too late.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. sandra

    i hope that randy has a good recovery from this cancer . i have a good friend going through this and is in stage 3 when they found his they are treating him now and he seams to be doing very well .you are in our parayers always randy .

    June 18, 2010 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Al Smith

    I'll be 65 in 1 month. Went to my family MD due to a problem voiding. He did a PSA and DRE (Digital Rectal Exam), and referred me to a Urologists. Had a biopsy and it came back positive. 1 day short of a month later, I had CRYOSURGERY. Basically they froze it. That was 1 month ago. It was done as an outpatient, in at 7 A. M., out by noon, and was eating a big hamburger platter at 3 P.M. I never had any pain, just discomfort. I'm back to work and my normal activities.
    Here is the link for my M.D. and a video of the proceedure.
    The doctor himself even called me at home several evenings to see if I was doing OK.
    A.S., Columbus, Ohio

    June 18, 2010 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Interesting

    Must need to sell some records. This is not news CNN.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. eddale

    I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September of 1991 and had the prostate removed in July 1992. In 1995 I had the radiation treatment and I'm still here :o)

    June 18, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Robert W

    We were devistated when Randy told us the news at his farm last weekend. We wish Randy only the best and will keep him, Kelly, and the family in our prayers.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Pam

    Sorry to read about this... Love this guy..

    June 18, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply

    Best wishes and a speedy recovery Randy. Been to many Alabama concerts. Always a great treat.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Peter Q. Wolfe

    Hopefully he will recover and he has chosen the right path that God wants for him in this life. God only knows and his faith with his physical and spiritual well being will guide him.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. chris

    The trick is to "treat" cancer not cure it. Otherwise there wouldn't be as much money generated.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Debbi

    My boyfriend had Prostate cancer last summer, went to Florida for HIFU treatment and all went well. No sign of cancer any longer and no other issues either. HIFU IS done in the United States.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. John

    Surgery is the LAST thing you want to do. Your never the same,can
    become deformed for life. It's not worth it. Radiation fries your insides. Ultrasound and freezing it would be better option...Good
    luck Randy..

    June 18, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. flatlanders40

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Randy, my husband is 51 and was diagnosed in Dec. 09, Feb 23, 2010 had prostate removed, cancer was contained in the prostate only (thanks to God) he does not have to have any treatments. Also his follow up psa blood test (came back Tues) was a big fat ) O (i thank God for his healing) He has also done real well with the repotty training . Every thing is such a blessing. We will pray for you!!

    June 18, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Carl Peterson

    There are numerous prostate cancer treatments available in the US, most with better disease free results (www.rcogpatients.com), so what are the other advantages of HIFU?

    June 18, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • debrapope

      there are no advantages of hifu-the most effectiive thing now for prostate cancer, is out of china it is called (E PROCEDURE)

      July 10, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  25. steve blank

    Diagnoised with prostate cancer at age 46. Found first by elevated PSA during routine physical, then verified by biopsy. I had 72 radioactive Iodine 125 "seeds" implanted. Sore for about a week, PSA was at 4.6 and now finally after three years PSA at .06
    No side effects.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sharon G.

    Most of the men I've know who've had this particular cancer have ALL had the radioactive "seeds" placed inside. So far, it's worked for them all whether it's been years or months.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jim

    Isn't Randy suing the drummer Mark in Alabama? Wonder if the bad Karma is catching up with these guys. Jeff Cook was sick also.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Randall

    The article did a good job of informing us of another option for a cure for prostrate cancer. Hopefully, I will never have to use it in my lifetime.

    To Randy,
    Love your music. Best of luck for a speedy recovery!

    June 18, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Cathy

    @Interesting – it's not always about promoting a record!! Often times celebrities use their status to help promote awareness to a variety of illnesses and the treatments that are available to treat them. In this case, i think this is exactly what Randy was doing! If you had followed his group Alabama over the last 30 some years, you would know the kind of guy he is. Randy – you were always my favorite and I wish you good health! Sure would like to see an Alabama reunion tour!

    June 18, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bill in Santa Fe

    My psa was high for an insurance application about 10 yrs ago. Haven't had anything else done. Still doing OK at 69.
    As long as Dr's are practicing medicine they not going to practice on me.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. carolyn

    To the blogger who uses the moniker "Interesting" What 's wrong with you. Your comments are crude, selfish and stupid. This man has given much pleasure through his music and the only thing nincompoops like you can say is this kind of ignorant nonsense. It must give you great comfort to know that you're the only jackass on Dr Gupta's most respected blog.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Jennifer

    This is not a simple disease – some men, such as my late father, suffer from a very aggressive and fast-moving type of prostate cancer which is almost always terminal. In his case, he was a physician himself and always had his PSA checked regularly. He just drew the short straw. When it was diagnosed it had already metastisized. It makes me sad to read generalizations that seem to place the blame on the patient for "not catching it early enough". It just is not that simple. That said, vigilance is crucial and something that he sought to promote until the day he died – it is the PSA velocity that really should be the focus. The medical community needs to pay more attention to that and not assume that it is a slowly progressing disease in every instance. I feel for Randy and his family and wish him the best in this tough battle.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. San Diego attorney

    I came across a very good video series of the thoughts/opinions of a man before and after prostate surgery. For any men facing this, I would suggest visiting:

    June 18, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Ronald E. Wheeler, M.D.

    Prostate cancer is a disease of healthy men. A high PSA (greater than 2.5 ng/ml) does not suggest that a cancer is present. It does suggest, however, that some level of investigation should take place. Unfortunately, standards of care in the USA do not necessarily translate into excellence of care. The FDA is responsible to assuring the safety and efficacy of the HIFU procedure despite what is noted in Europe after more than 10 years. Men must know that the inability of the FDA to approve HIFU in a reasonable time frame does not suggest the HIFU procedure is unsafe or ineffective. Patients are encouraged to review all viable treatment procedures associated with prostate cancer when diagnosed. I encourage men to evaluate HIFU at http://www.PanAmHIFU.com.

    June 18, 2010 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. duffey

    It is his health, but being a prostate cancer survior who opted for a nerve spareing robotic laproscopic prostectomy; I found that most of the (-) side effects are short tem. Unfortunaly there is too much urban legend circulating in the mens sexual health world that is preventing approptiate courses of therapies. I really hope this is not the case in Randy's decision.

    June 18, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Bill Blackmon

    I had prostate cancer almost 5 years ago and opt for
    robotic surgery and was doing great until Dec. and the
    cancer has started showing up in my PSA but with
    prayer and good outlook at life all will be Fine
    so Randy find some good prayer warrors and let them
    get you through this

    June 18, 2010 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. chuck

    Hey Susan Obryan. Removal of the prostate is not the surest way for treatment. I have heard from to many men that get it done, they end up complaining more about the complications that occur after having their prostate completely removed. Also having their prostate completely removed does not guarantee that much success on removing all cancer.

    June 18, 2010 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. duffey

    There are promising treatments that are in trail right now to address your current problem. Hang in there since by the time it becomes a huge issue, there will be new and advanced treatments in the arsenal to treat this illness.

    June 18, 2010 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Linda


    Hang in there and know you are in our prayers!!

    June 18, 2010 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Frank

    When is the FDA going to release its stranglehold on the US medical industry and stop cowtowing to the moneyed interests in this country? If the Cleveland Clinic feels HIFU is safe and effective for its patients, the FDA should speed up the approval process.

    June 18, 2010 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Donna

    Yes, Randy Owen is a celebrity, Sometimes it takes a celebrity to bring awareness to this disease. Some men have never been tested for this disease. They feel fine so their attitude is why bother. Well, this disease strikes men without warning, so those men with that attitude are stupid in my opinion.
    To Bill Blackmon: Randy believes in prayer and has always had a great outlook on life. I recently read Randy's book and He tells you how growing up even though they wee poor, they always had a good attitude.
    Randy is in our prayers and a fast recovery.

    June 18, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. g8rb8-85

    For those posting who state that a treatment is the "only" option or that a particular treatment is a bad choice, you're missing the point of this article, which is to GET CHECKED and DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS if you have a positive result.

    I had a daVinci robotic RALP at 45 one year ago, and have *zero* longterm side effects and good PSAs since. It was the best treatment option *for me.* Surgery – both robotic and traditional, proton beam, IMRT, cryosurgery, seed therapy, HIFU, watchful waiting and others have to be considered based on your individual situation.

    Randy, prayers for your victory over this disease.

    June 18, 2010 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Jim

    Randy needs to check out the Proton Therapy Treatment at Loma Linda University. They've been treating prostate cancer patients successfully for 20 years delivering the best results with he least negative side effects.

    June 18, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jim

    A link to go with my previous comment:

    June 18, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. DirectQuotesAmerica

    We work with prostate cancer survivors all the time to help them obtain life insurance after the successful treatment of prostate cancer. The following may be of interest to you regarding the underwriting treatment by life insurance companies. http://www.lifeinsuranceadvisors.com/health-problems-life-insurance-prostate-cancer.html
    I would be interested in learning more about HIFU as we are just beginning to push U.S. companies for underwriting approvals for HIFU treated prostated cancers.

    June 19, 2010 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. janie

    Oh i was crushed when i heard about your cancer RandY you and your family are surly crushed i really pray with all my heart and soul that you will be ok....GOD works miracles and i know you believe in that ...I love you ,your family.and your music...i have faith that if its GODS will you will be ok ....

    June 19, 2010 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Casey

    For those who think that cancer researchers have the cure to cancer but withhold it to make money (Chris), you don't know the FIRST thing about the complexity of a cancer cell. I could go on and on about the intricate signaling networks cancer cells possess and how they evolve to resist therapy but sounds like you already have your mind made up.

    June 19, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Christy

    Prayers for you Randy. Alabama has always and will always be my absolute favorite band of all time. Good luck in your treatment, I will pray for your recovery.

    June 19, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. James Wolfer

    Remember, not everyone has access to the money that Randy does! Makes a big difference.

    June 19, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Pat Patterson

    It is my understanding that K U Med Center has the best
    urology clinic in the country, therefore upon finding out in
    Jan 2010 that I have prostrate cancer I moved to Wichita.
    All of this is new to me and I yearn for knowledge and yet
    am somewhat in denial at this point. There are many
    new and promising treatments for the different types of
    cancer and I hope soon I hear the work "cureable" at the
    doctors office. The "incureable" word threw my world
    into a tizzy upon disovering my dilema and the first two
    months were devastating and totaly disheartening!
    I have at this point decided to continue living a normal
    life as much as possible and just deal with it.

    June 19, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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