[This is the headline over a report published today on the website of the News & Star, a newspaper circulating in the Carlisle area. It reads in part:]
A leading cancer specialist has predicted the convicted Lockerbie bomber could live for several more years.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison two years ago on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
He had served nearly eight years of a 27-year sentence after being convicted of killing 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, four days before Christmas in 1988.
But the Scottish Government accepted advice that he had about three months to live, prompting his release and return to Libya in 2009.
This week, following his appearance on Libyan television, foreign secretary William Hague labelled this move a “great mistake”.
Now Professor Roger Kirby, one of the world’s leading prostate surgeons and founder of The Prostate Centre, said he may have years left to live.
“I am not surprised that Mr Al-Megrahi is still alive as the decision to release him was based on flawed medical advice. It was always foolhardy to put a three-month prognosis on his survival, because advances in treatment, such as new chemotherapy and immunotherapy techniques that he is likely to be receiving, could keep him alive for a while yet, maybe even several more years.
“What used to be a hopeless situation for patients at advanced stages of prostate cancer is now more favourable. The silver lining to this story is that other patients with similarly advanced disease should not give up hope and should ask their doctor about the possibility of having these new treatments.”
Earlier this week Mr Hague claimed the footage – at what appeared to be a pro-government rally in Libya – demonstrated that the medical advice was “pretty much worthless”.