Former South African President Nelson Mandela diagnosed with microscopic prostate cancer

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, though the cancer should not pose a threat to his life, Mandela's foundation announced Tuesday.

Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will undergo a seven week radiotherapy course to treat the microscopic cancer in his prostate, according to a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The cancer was not of a high grade and should not decrease Mandela's life span, the statement said. Mandela will not require chemotherapy or surgery, it said.

Since retiring from the presidency in 1999, Mandela, 83, has maintained an extremely active schedule, regularly traveling overseas and mediating peace efforts in Burundi. He is also writing a second autobiography.

Despite the cancer, Mandela's health "remains excellent and he will be able to maintain most of his local and overseas commitments as he has done in the past," the statement said.

Last November, Mandela's doctors said they had discovered high protein levels in his blood, a possible indicator of prostate cancer. They discovered the microscopic cancer in a subsequent examination.

Mandela's spokeswoman, Zelda la Grange, told The Associated Press the condition was not serious and was common among many men his age.

Mandela had most of his prostate removed in surgery over a decade ago after tumors were discovered in the gland. Those tumors proved to be benign.