Mayor undergoes radiation therapy for prostate cancer

NEW YORK - Mayor Rudolph Giuliani underwent radioactive seed implantation Friday morning to treat his prostate cancer. Doctors said the hour-long procedure went ''perfectly'' and the mayor was released later in the day.

''There were absolutely no complications at all,'' said Dr. Richard Stock at a news conference at Mount Sinai hospital.

Giuliani appeared healthy and relaxed afterward.

''The time that I spent this morning between 8 and 9 was not nearly as painful as most of my morning meetings,'' the mayor joked about five hours after the procedure.

Giuliani, 56, announced in April that he had prostate cancer and cited his health a few weeks later when he dropped his bid for the U.S. Senate seat sought by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He has been taking hormones to limit the growth of cancerous cells by controlling the production of male sex hormones, including testosterone. He chose radiation therapy over surgery to remove the prostate.

Guided by ultrasound imaging, doctors use long, hollow needles to insert the seeds - which are about the size of grains of rice - into the prostate. The American Cancer Society says five-year survival rates following the therapy exceed 90 percent.

Doctors said Giuliani will have external radiation treatment, five times a week for five weeks, beginning in two months. He will continue taking hormones for three more months.

''His prognosis is excellent,'' said Dr. Alexander Kirschenbaum, the mayor's urological oncologist. ''I expect him to be cured.''

Stock said most patients are able to resume work immediately after undergoing seed implantation. Kirschenbaum said Giuliani was unlikely to cut back on his mayoral duties.

''We can recommend to him, but I'm pretty sure he won't listen to us,'' the doctor said. ''I'm sure he'll be back working 18 hours a day.''

Giuliani said he was comfortable about dropping out of the Senate race, but admitted feeling some regret Tuesday while watching Clinton debate the man who took his place, Republican Rep. Rick Lazio.

''For that one hour during the debate, I was thinking, 'Well, if I was doing the debate, I would do it this way, I would do it that way,''' he said.

But he said he couldn't have simultaneously run a Senate race and undergone cancer treatment. ''My concentration wasn't there,'' he said. ''My concentration was on figuring out what's the best cure for cancer.''


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