General News Wed, 7 Sep 2011

WikiLeaks: Mills Has Throat Cancer - Baba Jamal

Current under fire deputy Minister of Information, Baba Jamal, revealed to personnel from the United States Embassy that Prof John Evans Atta-Mills, then Presidential Aspirant of the National Democratic Congress has throat cancer.

The leaked US diplomatic cables of 5th June 2007 stated that Baba Jamal “confided that Mills had some kind of throat cancer and said he was on the mend, although not yet fully recovered. In Ghanaian culture, a politician cannot admit to illness, so we should not expect Mills to be forthcoming on this,” Jamal added.

True to Baba Jamal’s words, Prof Mills in a January 26th 2007 meeting with staff of the US embassy was not forthcoming with respect to the nature of his illness.

Baba Jamal’s statement was corroborated by the Foreign Service Health Practitioner at the US Embassy in 2007 who revealed that President John Evans Atta-Mills, then candidate Mills, had throat cancer, a disease caused by chain smoking, excessive use of alcohol and the over indulgence in oral sex, and not sinusitis which he (Mills) and his aides would want Ghanaians to believe.

In a January 26, 2007 meeting with staff from the US Embassy in Accra, Prof Atta-Mills stated that “he had contracted a serious sinus infection, probably from swimming”. As a result, his Chinese doctor friend in Ghana told him the problem could be diagnosed using a Magnetic Resonance Imagery.


Since Ghana did not have MRI capabilities at that time, his Chinese doctor friend encouraged him to get an MRI in China, which he did. The MRI, according to Prof Mills, confirmed his infection, which Chinese doctors claimed would have to be treated with radiation therapy.

“Mills said he did not want to have the treatment in China, which he was told would take six weeks. Instead he sought treatment in South Africa, where his nephew lives. South African doctors confirmed the diagnosis and treated him with radiation in his nasal passages. As a result of the radiation and a sore throat from the therapy session, he was unable to eat solids for several weeks and lost significant weight, which he was warned would be an expected consequence of the treatment,” Wikileaks reveals.

However, the Foreign Service Health Practitioner at post at the US Embassy disagreed with Mills’ explanation, in a discussion with US embassy officials, and stated categorically that the treatment candidate Mills had could not be for a sinus infection.

The Foreign Service Health Practitioner noted that “MRIs are usually not required to diagnose sinus problems unless a physician is concerned about tumours”.

The FSHP also notes that “radiation therapy is not usually used to treat sinus infections (usually antibiotics or surgical repairs are used), but that such therapy is more likely used to treat some form of cancer.”


A US embassy cable created on December 26, 2006, a few days after the NDC congress which elected Prof Mills as NDC flagbearer for the 2008 elections, had Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah telling former President Rawlings that “Mills had an unspecified illness”.

Several well-informed contacts within the NDC, according to the same cable, also told personnel from the US embassy that Prof Mills has/had throat cancer.

Further medical checks made by the New Statesman seem to concur with the US embassy’s assertion that President Mills has some form of cancer and not a problem with his sinus.

Sinusitis is treated with decongestants, antihistamines, a broad spectrum of antibiotics as well as corticosteroid nasal spray, whereas chemotherapy, radiation therapy (the treatment President Mills underwent in South Africa) to attack cancer cells, and surgery are the common treatments for throat cancer.

Reports have it that Prof Atta-Mills was a known chain smoker as well as an excessive user of alcohol in his days as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon.


It is recalled that in October 2006, The Statesman carried a story that Prof Mills was afflicted by a throat cancer, possibly Naso laryngeal which affects the nose like a sinus infection. The Statesman had to retract and apologise because Prof Mills’ director of communications and now director of communications at the Presidency, Koku Anyidoho, stated that it was pure lies and a fabrication.

Smoking is the most important risk factor for laryngeal cancer. Death from laryngeal cancer is 20 times more likely for heaviest smokers than for non smokers. Heavy consumption of alcohol, particularly alcoholic spirits, is also significant.

When combined, these two factors appear to have a synergistic effect. Some other quoted risk factors are likely, in part, to be related to prolonged alcohol and tobacco consumption. These include low socioeconomic status, male sex, and age greater than 55 years.

Source: The New Statesman
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