WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mayor Marion Barry has prostate cancer and is deciding whether to fight it with radiation or surgery. Either way, the mayor said he was confident of a speedy recovery.

Barry, 59, said Wednesday the cancer was diagnosed during his annual physical exam Oct. 13 at George Washington University Hospital. He said he would decide on a treatment after more tests next week.

``It will not impair his ability to perform his job and functions as the mayor,'' said Dr. Albert Goldson of Howard University Hospital, one of the mayor's doctors and a specialist in prostate cancer.

``The good news is, I'm looking for a speedy recovery,'' a robust-looking Barry said at a news conference, accompanied by his wife, Cora, his mother, Mattie Cummings, and his minister, the Rev. Willie Wilson.

``I feel great. In fact, I look good, too,'' Barry said, drawing a laugh.

The mayor said he was disclosing the cancer because he wanted to squelch rumors about his health and encourage men to have regular checkups.

``I'm confident that whatever treatment we choose, be it radiology or surgery, that I will have a total and speedy recovery,'' he said.

After the mayor's announcement, Howard University's Cancer Center announced it would offer free prostate cancer screening next month to Washington residents.

According to the American Cancer Society, 244,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. It is the second-biggest cancer killer in men, claiming more than 40,000 lives yearly.

The prostate is a golf-ball sized gland located below the bladder that surrounds the tube through which urine passes. The cancer begins as a profusion of abnormal cells which in later stages become a tumor.

Dr. Michael Manyak, a urologist, said Barry's cancer was ``a localized problem'' and had been detected early, improving his chances for recovery.

Barry served three terms as mayor before he was caught on FBI videotape smoking a crack pipe. He was convicted in 1990 for possession of cocaine and sentenced to six months in prison. After leaving prison, he pronounced himself healed and handily won re-election as mayor in 1994.

Earlier this year, his powers were diluted by a fiscal control board appointed by President Clinton to straighten out the District of Columbia's finances.