Asuncion, Paraguay (CNN) -- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer affecting the immune system, Health Minister Esperanza Martinez said Friday in a news conference.
The cancer, known as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was detected at an early stage, Martinez said.
Lugo will likely travel Tuesday to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for treatment, she said.
The 59-year-old president is a former bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. His five-year term is slated to end in August 2013.
According to the American Cancer Society, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in the United States, accounting for about 4 percent of all cancers.
Since the 1970s, the incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has nearly doubled, it said.
Though survival rates vary based on the type of lymphoma and stage of disease at diagnosis, the overall five-year relative survival rate for people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is 65 percent; the 10-year relative survival is 54 percent, it said.
Journalist Sanie Lopez contributed to this article.