Irish Finance Minister to Stay in Job After Cancer Treatment

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan plans to stay in his job after having a cancerous growth removed following five weeks of radiotherapy.

Noonan, 71, said he noticed a lump on his right shoulder in February, received radiation therapy at a Dublin hospital and had the sarcoma removed on May 28. Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and fatty and fibrous tissues, according to charity Sarcoma UK.

“There is no damage to my shoulder muscle and my risk of recurrence is low,” Noonan said in a statement late yesterday. “My medical team believe the treatment has gone very well and are upbeat about the prognosis.”

Noonan told reporters in Dublin today that he’s in “reasonably good form” and intends to run in the next general election, which is due to be held in 2016. A former leader of Fine Gael, Noonan was appointed finance minister in 2011, and helped lead Ireland out of an international bailout in December by narrowing the deficit with tax increases and spending cuts.

“I’ve another budget I need to bring in and another one after that,” Noonan said today.

He said it may be possible to bring the deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product without the full adjustment of 2 billion euros planned for next year.

Predecessor’s Cancer

Under Noonan’s watch, Ireland’s borrowing costs have plunged. The yield on benchmark 10-year government bonds was 2.61 percent today, compared with a peak of 14.2 percent in July 2011.

Noonan’s predecessor Brian Lenihan died, at age 52, in 2011 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Noonan took over as finance minister four months after Lenihan sought a three-year aid program from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

There are around 100 sub-types of sarcoma, which make up 1 percent of cancer diagnoses in Britain, according to Sarcoma UK. First elected to parliament in 1981, Noonan served as health minister and justice minister in previous Fine Gael-led coalition governments.

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