Messages of support for Mandela after prostrate cancer diagnosis

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Messages of support are pouring in for former South African President Nelson Mandela, a day after it was revealed that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
An upbeat Mandela said he was not overly concerned about the news and would continue with his busy schedule, despite the fact that he is to undergo a seven-week radiotherapy course.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation said the cancer is not of a high grade and should not decrease Mandela's life span.
Mandela's spokesman Zelda Le Grange said medical tests at the end of last year indicated a raised level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in Mandela's blood.
This antigen was a marker for prostate gland cancer, and Mandela had since been undergoing regular tests to assess his PSA levels and physical status.
The Foundation has been inundated with thousands of calls from concerned people around the world.
The ruling African National Congress congratulated the doctors for detecting the illness at the earliest stages and said it believes that Mandela's zest for life and his resolute refusal to be deterred by obstacles will once more see him through.
"The ANC notes that it is quite unfortunate that people of the highest calibre like Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many of our aged have to deal with this illness at a time when our country needs their wisdom and strength, to contribute in rebuilding our society," said ANC spokesman, Smuts Ngonyama.
Tutu, Mandela's fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has advised Mandela to rest.
Tutu also has prostate cancer and has undergone radiotherapy.
President Thabo Mbeki has also sent a message of support, saying "I join millions of our people in wishing him every success in his treatment and a speedy recovery".
The world statesman celebrated his 83rd birthday last week and despite his age, is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Nobel Laureate, who was incarcerated for 28 years for his role in the struggle against apartheid, is currently involved in the Burundi peace process and a number of projects in South Africa to improve education in disadvantaged communities.

25 july 2001 08:47:00

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