Beliefnet
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (RNS)--The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop of theEpiscopal Church, has announced he will undergo prostate cancer surgerynext month.

The 62-year-old bishop said the cancer has been found in the earlystages and he expects a full recovery.

"By way of encouragement, the surgeon showed [my wife] Phoebe and mephotographs of former patients who shortly after their surgery werekayaking, playing tennis, and hiking up mountains," Griswold wrote in ane-mail to his staff Monday. "I can't promise to be doing thesame, but there is every reason to think that I will snap back withouttoo much difficulty."

Griswold was ordained in 1963 and served as bishop of Chicago from1987 to 1997, when he was elected to a nine-year term as the 25thpresiding bishop of the 2.5 million-member church.

As presiding bishop, Griswold oversees the entire U.S. church,serves as president of the 200-member House of Bishops, and representsthe Episcopal Church in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Griswold said he has been tested for prostate cancer every sixmonths, and a routine checkup last month revealed high levels ofprostate specific antigens (PSA). Griswold said the cancer "is very muchin its early stages and there is every likelihood that surgery will takecare of it."

The soft-spoken bishop is considered a moderate by many in thechurch and has struggled to find a middle road on divisive issues,especially homosexuality.

From July 5 to 14, Griswold presided over the church's triennialGeneral Convention meeting in Denver. With a do-not-rock-the-boatmentality for a year of Jubilee, Griswold urged the church to put asideits divisive issues in order to draw closer to God.

Pamela Chinnis, who finished her term as president of the church'sHouse of Deputies in Denver, said she wishes Griswold a speedy recovery.

"I certainly am praying for him, as we all are in the EpiscopalChurch, and he'll very much be in our thoughts and prayers as he goesthrough the surgery," Chinnis said.

Griswold is the most recent religious leader to be treated forprostate cancer; cancer survivors include Archbishop Desmond Tutu andthe Rev. Andrew Young, president of the National Council of Churches.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 180,400expected diagnoses in 2000. If the disease is detected and treatedearly, most patients survive. According to the American Cancer Society,67% of all patients live at least 10 years, and 15% liveat least 15 years after treatment.

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