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Desmond Tutu diagnosed with prostate cancer

January 17, 1997

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ Retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said today that doctors have found cancer in a section of his prostate gland removed in recent surgery.

It was unclear whether the cancer had spread and further tests were planned for today, Tutu’s spokesman John Allan said.

The 65-year-old Tutu had announced Thursday that part of his prostate gland had been removed this week because of swelling.

Today, he invited journalists into his hospital room where he laughed with associates as he lied on his back, his head propped up on a pillow.

``We, of course, believe God is right here in our anguish and pain,″ he said. ``One is aware that it could have been worse.″

He declined to elaborate on his condition, but said he hoped to return to work in three weeks.

Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, retired as Anglican archbishop last year. He currently heads South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established to investigate apartheid-era political crimes.

A statement issued today by the commission said doctors will need several weeks before they can determine the seriousness of Tutu’s cancer.

``There is nothing to suggest cancer outside the prostate at this stage but only tests will determine this accurately.″ the statement said.

Allan said Tutu would remain in the hospital through the weekend.

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