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Phoenix Zoo orangutan Duchess diagnosed with terminal cancer

(Photo: D.C. Wagner)

PHOENIX -- An orangutan that has lived at the Phoenix Zoo for 50 years is sick with cancer.

The Arizona Republic reported zoo officials said Tuesday that Duchess has been diagnosed with lymphosarcoma and likely only has weeks to live.

Zookeepers learned of the illness last week after noticing a decrease in her appetite and other unusual behavior. A medical exam showed a mass in her abdomen and enlarged lymph nodes.

The 52-year-old primate is the oldest Bornean orangutan in North America and has been with the zoo since 1962.

Zoo staffers said they will try to make Duchess as comfortable as possible and are speaking with oncologists about other treatment options.

They said the zoo is taking comfort that Duchess has surpassed an orangutan's average lifespan.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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