Brian Lenihan, the Irish finance minster, has revealed how he is undertaking a "very aggressive form of cancer treatment" to treat his pancreatic cancer. He told a local newspaper in his district in West Dublin that the first steps had "gone very well."

He stated that he was "shocked" when he received the diagnosis. "One day I had a pain in my stomach, next day I had a life-threatening condition. I just have to face up to it. I have no other option," he said. Pancreatic cancer is usually fatal.

"While I know (pancreatic cancer) is a high-risk cancer, there have been remarkable improvements in cancer care in recent years and I am in good physical shape – so the doctors feel able to give me a very aggressive form of treatment for about six months," he said.

"I have already been through the first session of this treatment and it has gone well. I really just want to work and live as normally as possible," he added.

"I will continue to work in my constituency office and meet my constituents, though perhaps, in the circumstances, I will carry out a lot of the business over the telephone in order to avoid the risk of infection."

"At this stage, there is no point in me losing sleep over it. When you are facing a serious condition, you try to put issues like that behind you. You just can't afford to let them affect you."

Brian Lenihan, former Irish Minister for Finance