Clive Derby-Lewis' cancer has spread and is worse than expected, his lawyer Marius Coertze said.
Derby-Lewis, convicted of the murder of anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani, underwent his fifth operation to remove the last of the skin cancer from his face.
"He has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, which has been confirmed a week ago with a biopsy, but during the operation it was discovered that it is much worse than was expected," Coertze said in a statement.
"The cancer has already spread to some of his other internal organs, which is bad news. He will receive chemotherapy and radiation in an attempt to slow down the cancer."
Gangrene leg healing well
Derby-Lewis' right leg, where gangrene and dead tissue had been surgically removed, was healing well. He was still suffering from hypertension but was being medicated daily to keep it under control.
"The news of his prostate cancer came as a fresh shock to him, but he bravely tries to stay in a positive mood and not become depressed," said Coertze.
He said Derby-Lewis' wife, Gaye, was prevented from visiting him last week because she did not have a visiting pass with her, even though the visit had been arranged.
Also, since she was accused by the correctional services department of smuggling in a laptop for him, he had been refused any reading material.
"Since the incident with the laptop computer, which his wife had nothing to do with, Mr Derby-Lewis has been bluntly refused any reading material.
"Also, he has been refused to receive clean washing, mainly pyjamas, from his wife during visits. He is still being chained to his bed during most part of the day," Coertze said.
Application for release
A report on Clive Derby-Lewis's health was submitted last month to the parole board to support his application for early release.
Correctional services spokesman Sonwaba Mbananga said the National Council of Correctional Services still had to forward its recommendations on the matter to the minister.
"We expect to receive those recommendations by mid-November or the later part of November. The minister will make an announcement after considering the recommendations, maybe in early December," Mbananga said.
Derby-Lewis is serving a 25-year term for his role in the killing of the SA Communist Party secretary general in 1993.
(Sapa, November 2010)