Mugabe rushed back to Singapore sparking more health concerns

HARARE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 87, was rushed back to Singapore on Thursday for what a spokesman said was another follow-up visit after surgery for an "eye cataract", sparking further speculation as to whether his health is failing.\r\n

Our source in the President’s office said Mugabe collapsed at his home after addressing his supporters in Harare on Wednesday, and on Thursday his condition deteriorated and he was rushed to Singapore for medical treatment.

Although repeated efforts to obtain a comment from Presidential spokesperson George Charamba were fruitless on Thursay night, reports by international agencies showed the 87-year-old had gone for a medical check-up in Singapore but did not disclose what treatment he was receiving.

Those news agency reports could, however, not be verified by but tonight The Zimbabwe Mail has been in touch with a close security aid who confirmed that the President had left the country.

President Mugabe was in Singapore last month for a check-up on cataract following surgery early this year.

On Wednesday, he threatened to seize foreign-owned businesses, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on him and his political allies.

Officials of his ZANU-PF party have said he underwent surgery for a cataract in the eye in December. But some news reports have said he suffers from prostate cancer. He was in Singapore just two weeks ago for medical consultations.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba said Mr. Mugabe left on a commercial flight and would return to the country on Sunday, adding this was Mugabe’s "final checkup."

Celebrating his 87th birthday in public on Saturday, President Mugabe conceded old age was taking its toll, but said his ideas were those of a young man.

Mr. Mugabe declared that "87 is only 8 plus 7. I want to remain with you. My body may get spent, but I wish my mind will always be with you.”

One source present in Harare Wednesday when Mr. Mugabe launched a petition against Western sanctions targeting him and his inner-circle said he was "looking well."

Zimbabwean eye surgeon Solomon Guramatunhu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that cataract removal is a simple procedure that requires little follow-up. "In fact a cataract patient should be able to drive their car the next day after surgery," he said.

Political analyst Mqondobanzi Magonya told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Mr. Mugabe’s health may well be deteriorating, given his age. "It is expected that a person of his age should have failing health, and it’s a pity he wants to die in office."

Last month, a British newspaper reported that Mugabe had undergone a prostate operation in Malaysia, but the president,s spin doctors dismissed the media reports as "naked lies" on his return. Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, has been nominated by his party to stand again for president in elections expected later this year.

The elections are expected to bring to an end the fragile coalition government between Zanu (PF) and the two factions of the MDC.

President Mugabe has already gone through the primary cure stages of prostate cancer ranging from surgery, radiation therapy, and proton therapy, which are the first treatment options. As complications develop, other treatments available to him are hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, cryosurgery, and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) also exist, depending on the clinical scenario and desired outcome.Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers.

The cancer cells may metastasize (spread) from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.

Rates of detection of prostate cancers vary widely across the world, with South and East Asia detecting less frequently than in Europe, and especially the United States.

Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty and although it is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in men, many never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes.

This is because cancer of the prostate is, in most cases, slow-growing, symptom-free, and since men with the condition are older they often die of causes unrelated to the prostate cancer, such as heart/circulatory disease, pneumonia, other unconnected cancers, or old age. About 2/3 of cases are slow growing, the other third more aggressive and fast developing.

Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer. The presence of prostate cancer may be indicated by symptoms, physical examination, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), or biopsy. The PSA test increases cancer detection but does not decrease mortality. Suspected prostate cancer is typically confirmed by taking a biopsy of the prostate and examining it under a microscope. Further tests, such as CT scans and bone scans, may be performed to determine whether prostate cancer has spread.

The age and underlying health of the man, the extent of metastasis, appearance under the microscope, and response of the cancer to initial treatment are important in determining the outcome of the disease. The decision whether or not to treat localized prostate cancer (a tumour that is contained within the prostate) with curative intent is a patient trade-off between the expected beneficial and harmful effects in terms of patient survival and quality of life.