US Defense chief Lloyd Austin hospitalized for prostate cancer

The US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, as disclosed in a statement from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 9. The announcement detailed that the cancer was detected in early December, and on December 22, he underwent a “minimally invasive surgical procedure” known as a prostatectomy for its treatment.


“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,” the statement read

The Pentagon received significant scrutiny when it became known on Friday that Lloyd Austin had been admitted to Walter Reed on January 1 and remained hospitalized for days without public notification. Later reports indicated that President Biden, senior national security officials, and even Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who had taken over Austin’s responsibilities, were unaware of his hospitalization until three days after his admission.

On January 1, Austin was readmitted to the hospital due to complications “including nausea with severe abdominal, hip and leg pain.” He was found to have a urinary tract infection, the statement said.

In response to inquiries about why Lloyd Austin did not reveal his prostate cancer diagnosis, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder cited the matter as “deeply personal.”

“[I]t’s prostate cancer and the associated procedures are obviously deeply personal,” Ryder said Tuesday during a news briefing at the Pentagon. “And so, again, you know, we’ll continue to work hard to make sure that we’re being as transparent as possible moving forward, and again, wish the secretary speedy recovery.”

Throughout the final eight days of Austin’s stay at Walter Reed for infection treatment, he remained conscious and did not undergo general anesthesia. Although it was not specified by Ryder whether the secretary’s travel would be impacted by the procedure or any complications, it was noted that Austin is actively involved in his responsibilities and maintains regular communication with his staff.

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