KATHMANDU : Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala will travel to the United States next week to determine whether he is suffering from cancer or tuberculosis, after doctors detected a spot on his lungs, his physician said Thursday.

The 75-year-old underwent surgery for tongue cancer eight years ago, before routine tests conducted this week showed a “patch” on his lungs, according to Karbirnath Yogi, head of the respiratory and critical unit at Kathmandu’s Teaching Hospital. “We have conducted many tests in Kathmandu, many of which suggest the patch could be due to tuberculosis, but the radiologist says it is a case of malignancy and lung cancer,” Yogi told AFP.

“In order to rule out cancer and start treatment for tuberculosis, the prime minister will see a lung specialist at a US hospital on the 19th of June,” Yogi added.

Koirala, who was a habitual cigarette smoker until the tongue cancer diagnosis, will see doctors at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he underwent surgery in 2006.

, said Yogi, who has been the prime minister’s personal doctor for a decade.

The prime minister, who heads the Nepali Congress party, took office in February after winning elections on a pledge to deliver a long-delayed constitution to the Himalayan nation within a year.