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California a leading state for research into cancer afflicting Gov. Brown

December 17, 2012 |  8:19 am

Newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, Gov. Jerry Brown governs one of the leading states in the country in terms of research into the disease.

New methods of predicting and treating the disease have been pioneered in the state thanks to groups including the Prostate Cancer Foundation in Santa Monica. Since its founding in 1993 by financier Michael Milken after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the group has raised $500 million for research.

Some of the foundation’s grants have gone to research done at UC San Francisco, where Dr. Eric Small directs the Urologic Oncology Research Office.

Small is the physician treating Gov. Brown for early-stage prostate cancer and has described the governor’s prognosis as "excellent."

Although treatment is effective for prostate cancer found in early stages, research continues into ways to help those in which the disease has spread, according to Jonathan Simons, the foundation’s chief executive and president.

"The pace of curing prostate cancer is incredibly brisk," Simons said. "In the last 29 months, five new drugs for prostate cancer have been approved."

Brown’s bout with the disease is likely to help educate Californians about the need to be tested for prostate cancer and aware of its signs, Simons said. "It’s a learning moment," he said.


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Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. Credit:  Justin Sullivan / Getty Images