Entries in cancer (6)


Venezuelan VP Says Chavez Undergoing Chemotherapy 

RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images(CARACAS, Venezuela) -- Speaking after a Mass for President Hugo Chavez on Friday, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro shed some light on Chavez' health.

Maduro told reporters that Chavez is battling for his life, according to the BBC. Maduro added that the president was undergoing "complementary treatments" in the form of chemotherapy.

Speculation had mounted regarding the health of the Venezuelan president, but few specifics had been given.

Chavez has not been seen in public since he had surgery in Cuba in December for an unspecified cancer that is believed to be in his pelvic region. There were reports that Chavez suffered from a severe respiratory infection following his treatment in Cuba.

Maduro has been selected by Chavez as his preferred successor. According to the BBC, if the president is not able to return to office, Venezuela is constitutionally required to hold an election within 30 days.

The 58-year-old president, who won re-election in October, has held that office for 14 years. Chavez had previously reported undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hugo Chavez Returns to Venezuela. What Happens Next?

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hugo Chávez returned to Venezuela in the early hours of Monday morning, two months after heading to Cuba for cancer surgery.

There are still no images of Chávez's return. But according to government officials, the president arrived around 2:30 a.m. local time on a private flight, and was immediately taken to a military hospital in Caracas. A message published on Chávez's personal Twitter account at 3:42 a.m. confirms this.

"We have arrived in Venezuela once again. Thank you god, thank you my beloved people. We will continue treatment here," says the tweet, which is supposedly written by Chávez himself.

So is this the start of a surprise comeback for the cancer-stricken socialist leader?

Probably not, says Jose Marquina, a Florida-based Venezuelan doctor who claims to get inside info on Chávez's closely guarded health status.

Marquina contends that Chávez's cancer, for which he has had four operations in the past 18 months, has reached a point of no return, and is slowly spreading from his pelvic area into vital organs like the pancreas and the lungs.

"There was no sense for him to be in Cuba, when there are no more treatments that can be offered," Marquina tweeted in Spanish on Monday morning. "At this point of the disease there are no more curative treatments, only palliative ones," the doctor also wrote on his Twitter account.

According to Marquina, Chávez has only two to three months left to live, and could have possibly returned home to spend time with friends and relatives.

Marquina has previously been right about the president's health problems. In January, for example, Marquina said that Chávez was suffering a respiratory infection, a couple days before the Venezuelan government acknowledged this same problem in a public statement.

So what happens next in Venezuela?

One interesting development that could take place is that the Supreme Court formally swears Chávez into his fourth term in office, as the Venezuelan leader missed his swearing in ceremony on January 10.

Such a ceremony would quiet legal challenges from opposition groups, which have been arguing for weeks that there is a power vacuum in the country, and new elections must be held, as Chávez was not officially sworn into his fourth term.

However, if doctor Marquina is right about Chávez's short life expectancy, new elections will have to be held anyway after Chávez dies, or if his frail health condition leads him to retire from office.

According to the Venezuelan constitution, elections have to be "called for" within 30 days of a president´s death or retirement, but the rules are not so clear as to when elections actually have to take place.

Political analysts in Venezuela say that Vice President Nicolas Maduro, a close Chávez ally, is the favorite to win. But this could change if economic problems continue to plague the country and force the government to cut back on social programs. If you consider that opposition candidate Henrique Capriles lost by ten points to Chávez in the October presidential elections, and that Maduro is not as well liked or as charismatic as Chávez, the next election could be pretty close.

Of course there is also the possibility that Chávez will make a surprising recovery and will once again be healthy enough to appear in public, and serve out his presidential term, which runs through 2018.

But chances are slim with even government officials saying last week that his condition is delicate, difficult, and that he is "fighting for his life."

For the moment however, Chávez's surprise comeback provides a glimmer of hope to supporters, who welcomed news of his arrival with fireworks, and even gathered in front of the military hospital where Chávez is staying in Caracas.

Chávez's return also takes away some attention from the daily problems that have beset his government, like soaring crime rates and serious food shortages.

Just last week, the Venezuelan government was also forced to devalue the national currency, the Bolivar, by 30 percent of its value relative to the U.S. dollar. This move was necessary in order for the national oil company PDVSA to get more local cash for each barrel of oil it sells, money which can then be diverted to social programs. But devaluation is also expected to drive up the country´s steep inflation rate, it makes crucial food imports more expensive, and it also means that people´s savings are now worth less. Chávez has returned to Venezuela in the middle of difficult times.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Argentina‚Äôs President: No Cancer After All

Ximena Barrettino/LatinContent/Getty Images(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) -- After doctors removed her thyroid gland due to an initial cancer diagnosis, test results revealed Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, didn’t have cancer after all.

Her spokesman, Alfredo Scoccimarro, said she doesn’t need to take any radioactive iodine, something commonly prescribed after thyroidectomy to kill any residual cancer cells.  She will, however, have to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of her life.  Iodine is used in patients with papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Endocrinologists not involved in the president’s treatment told ABC News her situation is more the exception than the rule.

“These are called false positive cases, and they do happen, but they are the minority of cases,” said Dr. Antonio C. Bianco, professor and chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

What generally happens, he said, is during a routine physical examination, a doctor or other health-care provider will examine a person’s neck and check for lumps, also known as nodules.

“If there is a nodule, the person will then go for an ultrasound to determine how big it is,” Bianco said.  “If it’s more than 1.5 cm. long, then it will be biopsied.”

The biopsy involves inserting a small needle and removing cells from the lump.  A pathologist will then examine the cells and determine whether there is cancer present.

Depending on the type of thyroid cancer, radioactive iodine may also be necessary.  Once the gland is removed and iodine treatment is complete, the cancer typically is gone.

But removing the entire thyroid requires a person to be on thyroid replacement hormones for life, since those hormones are essential for maintaining the body’s metabolism.

“If you take the hormone tablet, most people will live just fine -- about 85 percent of people do well,” Bianco said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Director of Japan's Crippled Nuke Plant Diagnosed with Cancer

JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The director of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, who abruptly resigned last month, has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Masao Yoshida disclosed his condition to workers at the plant on Friday and TEPCO, the plant's operator, confirmed it at a press conference in the afternoon.  The severity of Yoshida's cancer, however, has not been revealed.

Citing a doctor at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, TEPCO said the cancer was not likely triggered by radiation exposure, adding that it usually takes five to 10 years for a person to develop cancer from radiation.

TEPCO also said that Yoshida had been exposed to 70 millisieverts of radiation since the nuclear disaster began in March, which is below the 100 mSv limit for emergency workers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Returning to Cuba for Cancer Treatment

MIGUEL GUTIERREZ/AFP/Getty Images(CARACAS, Venezuela) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is planning on Saturday to return to Cuba for more cancer treatment.

Chavez, 56, who spent nearly a month recovering in Cuba where he had a tumor removed, says he will return for a second phase of treatment to include chemotherapy.  

His doctors have not told him specifically where the tumor was found, but only that they operated in his pelvic region.

It remains unclear if Chavez will cede power while he is abroad.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Venezuelan President Reveals Removal of Cancerous Tumor

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(CARACAS, Venezuela) -- In a speech that aired on state television Thursday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez revealed that he underwent two surgeries, including one to remove a cancerous tumor, during his time in Cuba.

Chavez traveled to Cuba in early June to remove a pelvic abscess, at which time doctors detected the malignant cells, prompting a second operation.  The 56-year-old did not specify where the tumor was found nor what type of cancer was detected.

It is not yet known when Chavez will leave Cuba, where he remains receiving treatment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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