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24 Jul 2001 00:00
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (83) has prostate cancer and will receive radio therapy for seven weeks, but his life span is unlikely to be reduced, his office said on Tuesday.
“The cancer is not of a high grade and should not decrease Mr Mandela’s life span,” his representative said in a statement.
Mandela celebrated his 83rd birthday and the third anniversary of his marriage to former Mozambican first lady Graça Machel on July 18.
His representative, Zelda la Grange, said Mandela had been monitored regularly for the prostate specific antigen (PSA) that indicates cancer.
“The cancer ... should not decrease Mr Mandela’s life span” “Although the clinical picture revealed no alteration in his status, there has been a slight rise in the blood level of the PSA (prostate specific antigen). In view of this a decision was made to biopsy the prostate gland, which confirmed the presence of microscopic cancer within the prostate.
“Based on current knowledge about this tumour and how it should best be treated, a decision has been made by Mr Mandela’s team of doctors to commence treatment on the former president.
“Mr Mandela will undergo a seven-week course of radio therapy with curative intent. This treatment will be localised to the prostate gland and he will not require any surgery or chemotherapy,” the statement said.
Most of Mandela’s prostate gland was removed in an operation in 1990.
Mandela spent 27 years in apartheid prisons before his release in February 1990 to lead South Africa from white minority rule to full democracy four years later in 1994.
He served as president from 1994 to 1999, when he handed over to his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. - Reuters
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