Elvis Costello has said that being diagnosed with prostate cancer was like "entering into the unknown."

The 63-year old musician was told by doctors last March that he had a small but "very aggressive" tumour which would need surgery.

He had the operation in May and decided to fulfill his scheduled tour dates in June. A month later, however, he was obliged to cancel a number of European dates due to the debilitating illness.

"I was immensely fortunate in that it was identified," he recalls, as reported by BBC News. 

"I hadn't allowed myself enough time to regain my strength. It was nothing to do with fighting cancer as such, let's be clear about that."

Sensationalist reporting on the diagnosis hugely irritated the musician.

"It was a little upsetting to members of my family and friends about some of the hysterical versions of the reports, tabloids in particular love to dramatise and have no sense of responsibility," he said.

Costello's new album Look Now was almost two-thirds recorded as he began to deal with cancer. "There was a period of four to five weeks where I was entering into the unknown," he said.

"I don't think it affected my conducting of the string section because that is what I was doing the next day. I just wanted to do it well. I wasn't going up to the microphone with some morbid idea that this was my last creative act.

"Somewhere at the back of my mind, I thought, 'I'd better make sure this is really good in case I get some bad news and have to take more time off."

Look Now features some songs that the writer wrote decades ago and there are co-writes with both Burt Bacharach and Carole King.