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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