Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says he has prostate cancer but he expects to recover.
PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says he has prostate cancer but he expects to recover.

Story highlights

Doctors have diagnosed several South American leaders with cancer recently

President Juan Manuel Santos, 61, predicts a 97% chance of recovery

He says doctors caught the cancer in time to remove it

Santos describes the tumor as "small" and "not aggressive"

(CNN) —  

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Monday that he has prostate cancer, but described the tumor as “small” and “not aggressive.”

He said doctors caught it in time to remove the cancer through surgery, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

“It’s a small tumor, located in the prostate gland, and it’s a good prognosis – which is to say, it’s not aggressive,” Santos told reporters.

He said he has a 97% chance of a total recovery.

The 61-year-old president expects to be put under local anesthesia, which would allow him to keep alert before, during and after the procedure. He will continue to fulfill his functions as president.

Santos, who took office in 2010, is up for re-election in 2014.

The surgery is scheduled to come as the government readies for peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly known as the FARC.

Talks to end the nearly 50-year war are set to begin this month in Oslo, Norway.

Recently doctors have diagnosed several current and former South American leaders with cancer.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez first announced his diagnosis last year, though neither he nor anyone in his government has said what kind of cancer he has.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff overcame cancer while she was a candidate for the office, and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva underwent treatment for throat cancer.

Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was treated for what was thought to be thyroid cancer this year.