April 26, 2022 - 10:47am

Vladimir Putin is a medical miracle. Over the past few months, the Russian leader has been remotely diagnosed with enough diseases to fill a textbook. And yet, somehow, he staggers on.

In recent weeks Putin, 69, has been described by political commentators as “aged” and “ashen and bloaty”, with former foreign secretary David Owen reportedly telling the Times Radio that Putin’s “oval face” was a sign of steroid use.

And what is this steroid use thought to indicate? That Putin has cancer, of course. This was confirmed by an unnamed source — reportedly from the Pentagon — who was quoted by the Daily Star as stating that Putin was dying of bowel cancer and that his “angry look is most likely as a result of him being in agony”. This isn’t the only cancer diagnosis proposed, however. Dr Dalgleish, an Oncology Professor at St George’s Hospital suggested to GB News that Putin may well have a brain tumour. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, agrees about Putin’s cancer diagnosis, but it’s thyroid, not bowel, cancer that he’s suffering from.

From TikTok users to senior establishment figures, the endless speculation over Putin’s health has created an industry unto itself. This has at time reached ridiculous lengths, with body language experts suggesting that Putin’s “excessive blinking” gave away his underlying anxiety. Another psychotherapist has speculated that Putin is suffering from “Psychosis and a personality disorder commenting that, in recent weeks, “the voices inside Putin’s head would likely have become so much more real.”

This medical guesswork is nothing new. In fact, Putin’s “puffy appearance” has been the source of speculation since as far back as 2014 — around the same time as the invasion of Crimea. Back then commentators were suggesting that Putin may be suffering from “spinal cord cancer”, or even pancreatic cancer.

So far the list has included thyroid cancer, bowel cancer, pancreatic cancer, spinal cord cancer, a brain tumour, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, steroid misuse, psychosis and a personality disorder. With all these ailments, it’s a small wonder that Putin has managed to keep hold of the Presidency of Russia.

Of course, at 69-years-old, things are likely to starting to catch up with the Russian President in some way or another. But the truth is that very few people in the West (or even Russia) know about Putin’s physical or mental state, and the endless speculation only creates more confusion.

To try to rationalise Putin’s actions in Ukraine by blaming it on disease is desperate. Perhaps his barbarism is not due to Parkinson’s or cancer, but simply a result of him being foolhardy and arrogant. Poor decision making does not require a medical diagnosis.

Amy Jones is an anonymous doctor who has a background in Philosophy & Bioethics.