Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2024

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Was Treated for Early Prostate Cancer in December, Says Pentagon


By Escher Walcott

Austin went in for surgery to cure prostate cancer on Dec. 22, the Pentagon shared on Tuesday

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is recovering from complications after surgery for early prostate cancer, the Pentagon has confirmed. 

Austin, 70, was admitted into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 22 for a “minimally invasive surgical procedure” after being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier in the month, the Pentagon shared in a statement on Tuesday.

“As part of Secretary Austin’s routinely recommended health screening, he has undergone regular prostate specific antigen (PSA) surveillance. Changes in his laboratory evaluation in early December 2023 identified prostate cancer which required treatment,” the Pentagon said.  

“He was under general anesthesia during this procedure. Secretary Austin recovered uneventfully from his surgery and returned home the next morning. His prostate cancer was detected early, and his prognosis is excellent.”

Austin, however, returned to the center on Jan. 1 after experiencing “nausea with severe abdominal, hip, and leg pain” due to a urinary tract infection, according to the statement. On Jan. 2, he was transferred to the intensive care unit “for close monitoring and a higher level of care.”

“Further evaluation revealed abdominal fluid collections impairing the function of his small intestines. This resulted in the backup of his intestinal contents which was treated by placing a tube through his nose to drain his stomach,” the statement explained. “The abdominal fluid collections were drained by non-surgical drain placement.”

The Pentagon added that Austin “has progressed steadily throughout his stay.”

“His infection has cleared. He continues to make progress and we anticipate a full recovery although this can be a slow process. During this stay, Secretary Austin never lost consciousness and never underwent general anesthesia,” the statement concluded. 

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