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      Olmert's Cancer Overshadows Criminal Probes

      Olmert's spokesman said the former prime minister’s prostate cancer has worsened. Hearings on pending indictments have been postponed.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 4/19/2009, 10:35 PM / Last Update: 4/20/2009, 1:00 AM

      Israel News Photo: (file)

      Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s spokesman, Amir Dan, has told reporters that Olmert will need urgent surgery to stop the growth of prostate cancer, which Olmert first reported was "microscopic” 18 months ago.

      Before Olmert left office and after he was faced with an indictment hearing in one of three criminal investigations, he said he needed to fly to the United States for treatment consultations. The cancer previously had been reported as under control and not requiring immediate attention.

      His lawyers successfully postponed the hearing that had been scheduled for this month and Olmert flew to New York. His spokesman said that doctors at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York advised that the former Prime Minister undergo surgery or radiation.

      Olmert has not explained why he could not undergo treatment in Israel for the prostate cancer, which is common in older men. Regardless, the Sloan-Kettering Center is noted as one of the world’s most advanced cancer treatment facilities. Prostate cancer usually can remain untreated for long periods of time, even up to a number of years, but there are uncommon exceptions of rapid growth.

      Olmert will return to Israel soon before deciding on which treatment to use and where to be hospitalized.

      His visit to the U.S. has gone virtually unnoticed in the American media, while media focus on the criminal investigations against him is on hold.