Andrew Lloyd Webber was admitted to a London hospital on Saturday (24 October 2009) for treatment for prostate cancer. The news comes only a few weeks after the composer launched his forthcoming Phantom sequel Love Never Dies (See News, 8 Oct 2009).

The diagnosis is believed to have been made around the time of the launch, and a statement from Lloyd Webber's spokesman said: "The condition is in its very early stages. Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year."

Lloyd Webber, the Oscar-winning composer of hit musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera, only recently made the official announcement regarding Love Never Dies, which premieres at the Adelphi Theatre on 9 March 2010 (previews from 20 February). Speaking at the launch, he described the show as a "completely standalone piece", despite it being a continuation of the Phantom story.

Next year will be a busy year for Lloyd Webber, also seeing the launch of his new BBC TV series searching for cast members for The Wizard Of Oz (See News, 11 Sep 2009).

Considered the most common cancer among British men, prostate cancer accounts for a quarter of all new cancer cases, and kills around 10,000 men each year. It grows slowly and often remains undiagnosed, sometimes not causing any difficulties in a person's lifetime.

If still contained in the prostate gland, the options include surgical removal of the prostate, radiotherapy or surveillance, in which the cancer is monitored and radical treatment only started if the cancer appears to be growing. It is not known at this time which treatment Lloyd Webber, who was submitted to an unnamed private hospital, is undergoing.