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Venezuela’s Chavez says he needs cancer surgery again
Throughout his treatment, Mr. Chavez has kept secret various details about his illness, including the precise location of the tumors and the type of cancer. He has said he travels to Cuba for treatment because his cancer was diagnosed by doctors there.
Dr. Michael Pishvaian, an oncologist at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, said in a phone interview that he wasn’t surprised by the news.
“I think this is recurrent cancer that at this point is almost certainly not going to go away,” Dr. Pishvaian said. “It’s unlikely that what he’s going through now is curable.”
He speculated that given what Mr. Chavez has said about his cancer, it is most likely a soft-tissue sarcoma. He said those in the pelvis area have a likelihood of recurring of 50 percent to 70 percent of the time, even with the best treatment.
Mr. Chavez said he wouldn’t have run for re-election this year if tests at the time had shown signs of cancer. He also made his most specific comments yet about his movement carrying on without him if necessary.
“Fortunately, this revolution doesn’t depend on one man. We’ve passed through periods, and today we have a collective leadership,” Mr. Chavez said.
Mr. Chavez also recalled a conversation with his mentor, Fidel Castro, in Havana before his brief trip home to Caracas, in which the Cuban leader referred to a “flame” in Latin America and Mr. Chavez’s socialist movement.
“A revolution rose up here in Venezuela,” Mr. Chavez said, adding that “it’s been up to us, some of us… to assume responsibilities, assume vanguard roles.”
As he concluded his remarks, the president said: “Chavez in truth is no longer only this human being. Chavez is a great collective.”
Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas and Frank Bajak in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.
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