Cardinal Francis George will undergo four months of chemotherapy starting next week after tests confirmed cancerous cells in his kidney and liver, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Tuesday afternoon.
George, 75, met with his doctors Monday at Loyola University Medical Center to discuss his test results, diagnosis and suggested treatment plan.
The cancerous liver nodule and surrounding tissue was removed Aug. 15, and currently there doesn't appear to be cancer in the liver. Aside from his right kidney, additional testing "did not conclude with certainty that there is cancer elsewhere in his body," the archdiocese said in a statement.
Based on the findings, George's doctors, having consulted with doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., recommended he undergo six three-week sessions of chemotherapy. In each session, chemotherapy will be administered the first two weeks followed by a week free of chemotherapy to allow the immune system to recuperate.
George, who battled bladder cancer six years ago, is scheduled to begin treatment Sept. 5.
According to the archdiocese, George plans to maintain his regular work schedule and meet his daily obligations. His public schedule will be reduced during the weeks he doesn't receive chemotherapy due to his weakened immune system.
The archdiocese said it will share the doctors' analysis of his condition once his chemotherapy treatments are completed, adding that George wanted to acknowledge all the people who have sent cards and email notes expressing their concern and promising their prayers.
He discussed the importance of prayer while speaking to reporters Friday, Aug. 24, during his first public appearance since being told he had cancer. Before attending the annual Hispanic Ministry Awards Banquet, Noche de Gala, in Oakbrook Terrace, George said he felt good but weakened after a recent biopsy.
"If this is a call to be with (the Lord) for eternity, then that's a welcome call in that sense. But it's also a fearful call because there's so much that's unknown," George said. "I find prayer to be an enormous part of my life that anchors things. Especially at this crisis, the prayers of so many others are a great blessing for me and I count on them."