Tutu's Surgery Successful
Oct. 21, 1999
ATLANTA (AP) _ South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu successfully went through surgery Thursday to determine whether his prostate cancer had spread.
Tutu was in good spirits after the procedure, which will determine whether the cancer was confined to his prostate and could be treated with the freezing procedure known as cryosurgery.
Lymph node samples taken during Thursday's operation still must be examined by pathologists, which will take about a week.
Cryosurgery ``would not be recommended unless we know the cancer has not spread,'' said urologist Harry Clarke of Emory University Hospital.
Clarke said a tissue sample from Tutu ``appeared normal'' and that the 68-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner had no problems with the procedure, which lasted a little more than an hour.
Tutu, now a theology professor at Emory, was originally treated with radiation for prostate cancer in 1997, when he was head of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Clarke said Emory doctors have been monitoring his condition since he joined the faculty and found signs over the last six months that the cancer had recurred.
Cryosurgery involves freezing the affected tissue with liquid nitrogen, which is pumped in through small needles placed in the prostate.
Tutu would undergo chemical therapy if the cancer has spread, doctors say.