TW’s Ross at Norris for surgery

Time Warner chairman and co-chief executive Steven J. Ross has spent the past week at the USC Kenneth Norris Jr. Comprehensive Cancer Center under an assumed name undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, sources said.

The surgery represents the third radical treatment for Ross’ cancer in less than a year.

Ross, 64, was diagnosed last November and began chemotherapy treatments in December. Six months later, he was headed for his second round of treatments and decided to take an indefinite leave of absence, handing the reins of power over to co-chief executive Gerald M. Levin.

Then last week, sources said he turned up at the renowned 60-bed hospital, considered a leader in research and treatment for cancer.

Ross used an assumed name, which is not unusual for prominent patients, hospital sources noted. But officials would not confirm Ross’ admittance at the hospital.

“We are pleased to confirm that Mr. Ross has made satisfactory progress in his chemotherapy treatments–so much so that he is now able to receive successful surgical treatment. To protect his privacy, no further details will be provided,” a TW spokesman said.

One source noted that several rounds of chemotherapy commonly are needed to shrink a cancerous tumor so that it can be removed surgically. The surgery also could mean that the cancer was resistant to the chemo treatments.

Just six weeks before the second treatment was announced in June, Levin told security analysts that Ross had required only four of six prescribed chemotherapy treatments and that there was no longer any evidence of a tumor (Daily Variety, June 15). At that time, Levin had described Ross as being in complete remission.

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