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President reveals cancer diagnosis

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has announced that he has prostate cancer. He said the tumour was caught early and would be removed this week.

The 61-year-old Mr Santos told reporters in announcing the cancer at the presidential palace, his wife Maria Clemencia at his side, that he has a 97% chance of a full recovery.

"It's a small tumour located in the prostate gland and the prognosis is good, that is to say it's not aggressive," Mr Santos added.

He said he planned to fly to Lima, Peru later for a summit of South American and Arab leaders and then undergo surgery on his return to Bogota on Wednesday.

Mr Santos said the surgery would be performed under local anaesthetic so he would not need to relinquish temporarily his presidential responsibilities.

Mr Santos said his doctors told him the surgery places him in no danger, "but they have recommended that after the surgery and after I leave the hospital, I don't travel for several weeks".

He was also joined by his doctor, Felipe Gomez, who characterised Mr Santos' situation as "common among men".

The news comes two years into Mr Santos' four-year term and with his government about to begin formal peace talks this month with Colombia's main leftist rebel group.

Mr Santos said his medical records would be completely public. That contrasts sharply with the president of neighbouring Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who has refused to release medical records regarding the cancer that was identified last year and for which he has been treated in Cuba.


From Belfast Telegraph