* Hollande's office says was hospitalised for few days in
* "Benign" swelling acknowledged after radio reports issue
* Leader health sensitive ever since hidden Mitterrand
By Brian Love
PARIS, Dec 4 French President Francois Hollande
acknowledged on Wednesday that he underwent treatment for a
swollen prostate just before he ran for office, declaring after
a radio station revealed the issue that the condition was
The health of French leaders has been a sensitive issue
since former president Francois Mitterrand kept his prostate
cancer secret for over a decade of his 14 years in power. He
died less than a year after leaving office in 1995.
A statement issued by the 59-year-old Hollande's office said
he spent a few days in hospital in February 2011 and was treated
for "a benign swelling of the prostate."
"No medical follow-up was considered necessary in the wake
of the operation," said the statement. The Socialist leader had
issued two public health reports since becoming president in May
2012, that last of them in March 2013.
State radio station France Info said on Wednesday Hollande
was treated on two occasions for the problem, the second step
involving an operation and a stay of one week in hospital.
Hollande's run for the presidency began in March 2011 when
he entered his Socialist party's primary contest. He beat
conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy in a May 2012 run-off
to become France's first Socialist head of state since
The prostate cancer that ultimately killed Mitterrand was
diagnosed just months after he was elected president in 1981 but
was only made public in 1992, well into his second term.
His doctor, Claude Gubler, revealed after his death that
regular public health reports during his time in office were
false. Georges Pompidou, president from 1969 to 1974, also died
from a cancer that was long kept secret.
While there is no constitutional obligation to do so, more
recent French leaders from Jacques Chirac to Sarkozy and now
Hollande have sought to dispel any concerns by committing to
divulge any significant health issues to the public.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault denounced what he described
as excessive media intrusion on Hollande's prostate issue,
saying that there was no cause for worry and that the president
had pledged to be transparent about his health.
Hollande's two official health bulletins as president have
reported a "normal" state of health.
Chirac, president from 1995 to 2007, was admitted to
hospital with a minor stroke in late 2005 that was played down
at the time.
Shortly after he assumed the presidency in 2007, Sarkozy
underwent a minor operation, unpublicised at the time, to remove
a throat abscess. A subsequent incident, when he was
hospitalised after fainting while out jogging, was made public.
(Reporting by Brian Love and Sophie Louet; Editing by Mark