British author and polemicist Christopher Hitchens has been forced to cancel stops on a tour to promote his new autobiography "Hitch-22" after announcing that he has throat cancer.

Christopher Hitchens is known for his work at Vanity Fair and for his anti-theist views on religion. His most well known work is a book attacking religion known as "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" and he has called for the Pope to be arrested when the Pontiff visits Britain later this year.

He is also known for being a heavy drinker and smoker, which could be a contributing factor to his being diagnosed with throat, or oesophageal, cancer. While he said that he had given up smoking in 2008 he is reported to have taken it up again while working on his memoir.

Christopher Hitchens said, "I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my oesophagus.

"This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice."

In his youth Christopher Hitchens was a member of the International Socialists and has long been a supporter of what are regarded as left-wing causes. However he surprised many when in 2001, following the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York he came out in favour of Republican President George W. Bush in the fight against Islamic terrorism which he said "represented everything that I hate".

He is also the brother of Peter Hitchens, the well known columnist for the Mail on Sunday. Peter Hitchens was also a member of the International Socialists but gradually shifted his politics to the right passing through both the Labour and Conservative parties before concluding that both were too socialist for him.

Peter Hitchens recently published a book "The Rage Against God" countering the arguments put forward by his brother in "God is not Great".