Robert Kraft’s son reveals prostate cancer diagnosis, pushes for screening with advanced prostate cancer rates on the rise
One of Robert Kraft’s sons on Wednesday revealed that he has been treated for prostate cancer, as he pushed others to get screened with advanced prostate cancer rates on the rise.
Joshua Kraft, 55, announced that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 when he was 51, and he received treatment at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center. He underwent surgery in 2019 to remove the prostate gland.
When follow-up tests showed the cancer was starting to return, the president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation received radiation and hormone therapy.
Today, Joshua has no signs of cancer. His prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level — used to gauge the presence of prostate cancer — stands at zero.
“When prostate cancer is caught early, it’s treatable and often curable,” Joshua said. “I tell people all the time to get their PSA tested or have a digital exam. It’s one form of cancer that getting ahead of it allows you to get rid of it before it gets worse.”
He credits the frequent monitoring of his PSA level with the detection of his cancer at a relatively early stage when he was 51, when it could be successfully treated.
Kraft’s advocacy message for screening is especially welcome at a time when prostate cancer rates are increasing, said his Dana-Farber oncologist, Atish Choudhury.
His doctor noted that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the U.S., behind lung cancer.
“The American Cancer Society reported that prostate cancer diagnoses in the United States went up by 3% per year from 2014 through 2019 and there seems to be an increased number of prostate cancer deaths over the past several years, despite all the advances that have been made in treatment,” added Choudhury, the chair of the Gelb Center for Translational Research at Dana-Farber. “This suggests many patients are being diagnosed much later in the course of the disease.”
Most advisory organizations recommend that men at average risk for prostate cancer discuss receiving an initial PSA test with their healthcare provider by around age 50 to establish a baseline level — a point of comparison for later tests.
Black men, those with a family history of prostate cancer, or those with a high risk of developing the disease may be advised to begin PSA screening earlier.
Prostate cancer can produce a variety of symptoms, including difficulty starting urination, weak or interrupted flow of urine, frequent urination especially at night, and blood in the urine or semen. These symptoms can also be a sign of non-cancerous conditions, such as benign enlargement of the prostate — and in early stages, prostate cancer often produces no symptoms. That’s why doctors say it’s critical that men be screened regularly for the disease.
Joshua advised men “not to fear PSA testing, the digital exam, or biopsy. The most important thing is to detect the cancer early and get rid of it.”