As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lay dying, his vice president lashed out, accusing “enemies” of somehow inducing cancer in the leftist leader. At the same time, Nicolas Maduro expelled two U.S. diplomats from the country.
However, the claim that America is responsible for Chavez’s cancer has no basis in fact, a top cancer doctor tells Newsmax Health.
“It’s impossible to give somebody cancer,” said David Samadi, M.D., vice chairman of the Department of Urology and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Chavez, 58, died Tuesday after a long struggle against the disease. The type of cancer was never revealed, but the politician endured at least three surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation in an effort to beat it.
In accusing the U.S., Maduro was repeating claims that Chavez made before he died. Following his diagnosis in 2011, Chavez charged that the U.S. had “given” him cancer. Maduro said he had “no doubt” Chavez's illness was induced by "the historical enemies of our homeland.”
Dr. Samadi noted that the Venezuelan government has released few details about the cancer. However, it has been described as a pelvic tumor, which Dr. Samadi said leads him to believe that the Chavez most likely suffered from prostate cancer, which is “the most common pelvic cancer in men.” Another possibility is that it was a soft tissue cancer called a sarcoma, he said.
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Whatever the type, Dr. Samadi said that cancer is not transmittable. He also disregarded any possibility that Chavez could have gotten cancer from some type of poison or infectious agent, noting that the dictator’s exposure to the U.S. had been “very limited” and that it is difficult to induce a malignancy.
Ironically, if Chavez did have prostate cancer, he should have chosen to be treated in the U.S., instead of vilifying it, Dr. Samadi said. “Although I don’t have a lot of details about his treatment in Cuba, from what I do know, our expertise could have saved him,” he said.
“When you have cancer of this type, the first surgery is the best option for a cure,” said Dr. Samadi. Robotic surgery, which he performs, is the best option because, he noted, “the mass can hide under the pelvic bone, and with robotic surgery, we’re able to get into blind areas, which would have given him a better chance for a cure.”
“People in Latin America should know that, in the hands of experienced surgeons who are experienced in the latest treatments, he could be still be alive,” Dr. Samadi said.
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