British Columbia

B.C. attorney general to be treated for prostate cancer

B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal will have surgery this month to treat prostate cancer, but he said he is "very, very optimistic" about his prognosis.

Oppal expects to be back at work about three weeks after surgery

B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal will have surgery on March 20 for prostate cancer but he says he is "very, very optimistic" about his prognosis because the condition was diagnosed early.

At a news conference Thursday,Oppal said he expects to be off the job for about three weeks after the surgery.

Oppal said he was devastated when he learned of the cancer three weeks ago, following a routine examination. He urged all men over 45 to get tested for the disease, which strikes one in seven men.

Oppal was known as B.C.'s best-known activist judge before being elected to the legislature in the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview in theMay 2005 vote that saw the Liberals return to power.

With more than 20 years on the bench, it was no surprise when he was appointed attorney general the following June.

Since then, he's taken on such controversial issues as gang violence in the Indo-Canadian community and polygamous marriage.

Oppal has said his agenda includes victims' rights and multicultural access issues.

He practised law for 14 years before becoming a judge. He has served as a judge at the B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.