CULLOWHEE, N.C. (AP) — Western Carolina University Chancellor David Belcher says he is going on medical leave effective Dec. 31 because of his brain cancer.

Belcher has been battling brain cancer since April 2016, and he announced in August that it had returned. In a statement sent to the university on Monday, Belcher said the effects of his brain tumor have worsened and have impacted his speech and communication skills.

Also, Belcher said his medical team concluded that the latest treatment regimen isn't working as hoped. He said while he fully intends to explore additional options in fighting the cancer, "I do not expect to resume my duties upon completion of leave."

UNC System President Margaret Spellings will appoint an acting chancellor.

Belcher became Western Carolina's chancellor on July 1, 2011.