Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is seriously ill, perhaps terminally, from a cancer that appears to be spreading in his body and which may be untreatable.
Chávez, 57, said he would be undergoing surgery to remove a lesion that had reappeared near the site where he had previously been treated for cancer in June, the Miami Herald reports.
He told an audience that “it’s a small lesion of two centimeters in diameter, which is clearly visible and it needs to be removed and that requires a new round of surgery. They will operate on me again, remove this lesion and verify whether it is related to the previous tumor or not.”
But cancer experts told the Herald that, based on what they know, Chavez may be in serious shape.
Dr. Floriano Marchetti, an associate professor at the University of Miami and a surgeon who often treats colon and rectal cancer, told the Herald that Chavez may be facing a major crisis.
“A locally recurring cancer means that the patient has failed surgery and chemotherapy,’’ Marchetti said. “Depending on the nature of the cancer, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to die, but it does indicate that there is a disease that is resistant to treatment.”
Chávez denied that his cancer had spread.
“There are people who want me to die because they hate me,” he said. “They start to generate all these rumors to try to create angst, fear and to try to destabilize the country.”
Despite Chávez’s earlier statements, the cancer seems to be more aggressive than his doctor’s originally believed, Dr. Gustavo León, a South Florida physician, told the Herald.
“This means that tumor has either grown back after having it under control, or that a new tumor has developed with the same characteristics,” he told El Nuevo Herald. “That also means that ... the treatment wasn’t as effective as it should have been because, obviously, it didn’t stop the problem”
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