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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Mandela 'responding well to treatment'
Mandela shaking hands
Mandela continues to play an active role in African politics
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is responding well to radiation therapy for the prostate cancer diagnosed in July.

A statement from his spokeswoman Zelda la Grange said there was "no evidence that the cancer had spread beyond the prostate gland".

According to the statement, seven doctors met on 3 August to review Mr Mandela's treatment.

Nelson Mandela arriving in Arusha, Tanzania, for a round of peace talks on Monday
Nelson Mandela being helped off a plane recently
They decided that due to the good response, the same radiotherapy would be continued until the end of its seven-week course.

The tumour is said to be "microscopic" and should not reduce Mr Mandela's life expectancy.

No surgery is being contemplated for the 83-year-old elder statesman at the moment.


The Nobel peace prize winner was probably the world's best known political prisoner, spending 27 years in jail.

In 1985, while in prison, Mr Mandela was hospitalised for prostate surgery and had some tumours removed. They proved to be benign.

He then returned to jail, where he remained until February 1990.

As president of South Africa between 1994 and 1999, he supervised its transition from white minority rule to full democracy.

Prostate rates rising

The prostate is a small gland lying close to the bladder.

Prostate cancer is a common condition in elderly men and can usually be treated successfully, if it is detected at an early stage before it spreads to other organs.

It is the fourth most common global cancer, and may become the most common as the world population ages.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is another sufferer from the cancer in South Africa, where the incidence rate is 42.78 men per 100,000 of the population.

Just under 26 men per 100,000 of the population die from the disease.

See also:

24 Jul 01 | Africa
Mandela has prostate cancer
27 Jul 01 | Africa
SA press rallies round Mandela
17 Mar 00 | C-D
Prostate cancer
03 May 00 | UK
Royal honour for Mandela
17 Aug 00 | Africa
Tutu returns for quiet life
24 Jul 01 | Africa
Profile: Nelson Mandela
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