WikiLeaks has revealed the long held rumour that Robert Mugabe may have prostrate cancer.
But a medical expert said he strongly believes that early treatment could have prevented the disease from spreading to other vital organs of the body.
The expert, who asked to remain anonymous, said Mugabe may well be categorised as a long-term cancer survivor, who is a beneficiary of early treatment.
'The exact nature of which cancer he has can only be known by his personal physicians, otherwise everything else, including the diagnosis we read in newspapers, is all speculation,' the medical expert said on Tuesday.
Mugabe is believed to have been diagnosed with cancer in the last five years but appears to be strongly soldering on, having travelled extensively to the Far East for treatment. His ZANU PF party and spokesman George Charamba have on numerous occasions refuted reports that he is travelling there to seek cancer treatment.
The expert told SW Radio Africa that what could have helped Mugabe (87) live so long is his healthy life style that is understood to include a daily exercise regime, plus his dislike of alcohol and smoking.
A confidential US embassy communication released by WikiLeaks has said Mugabe was seen in the office of a radiation oncologist at Gleneagles, a major hospital in Singapore in December 2009. An oncologist deals with cancer. The cable then went on to say Mugabe went to Singapore for prostrate cancer treatment in May and August 2008.
Mugabe's former personal banker and now Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, revealed in another cable that Mugabe does have prostate cancer and told by doctors in 2008 that he had five years to live. Gono was speaking to former US Ambassador James McGhee.
'The reports in the WikiLeaks might be credible because they are consistent with the signs and symptoms that have been observed on Mugabe. Of late he has been seen to experience mobility difficulties. At the Livingstone SADC summit, Mugabe is alleged to have used a golf cart to move around,' the medical expert added.
In April this year onlookers at the Zambezi Sun Hotel in Livingstone, Zambia where Mugabe was staying, were left in no doubt that his health is failing. He had a massive security and medical team around him.
On arrival at the hotel Mugabe, who was struggling to walk, was helped onto a golf cart which transported him to his room. His bodyguards and other aides followed behind. The same routine was repeated when the ZANU PF leader was leaving the hotel for lunch and the golf cart took him to his car.
'People who undergo cancer treatment of the nature Mugabe is alleged to, usually need support for long-term physical and emotional problems, which include blood clots, nerve damage and lymphoedema (swelling of joints), the medical expert said.
Pro-democracy activist Dewa Mavhinga, who witnessed Mugabe being moved around in a golf cart in Livingstone, said it is high time the ZANU PF leader dealt with the succession issue in his party.
'If anything is to happen to him whilst in office, the scenario of what will happen in Zimbabwe is too ghastly to contemplate. With the military vultures circling around, Zimbabwe will be plunged into chaos if there is no legal succession plan,' Mavhinga said.