Chavez Has Colon Cancer: Reports

Details still unknown; president vows to defeat disease
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2011 9:49 AM CDT
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez Has Colon Cancer: Reports
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes supporters at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on July 4, 2011.   (Getty Images)

Last week, Hugo Chavez announced he had cancer, but kept quiet on the details; now, insiders say it’s likely colon cancer, and he's likely undergoing chemo, the Wall Street Journal reports. A tumor was discovered during the Venezuelan president's surgery for a pelvic abscess and later removed. The abscess fits with a colon cancer diagnosis, says an outside expert, who notes that descriptions thus far suggest Stage 2 or Stage 3 colon cancer. Stage 3 patients have about a 70% chance of survival beyond 5 years if they undergo chemotherapy, the doctor notes.

Early stages of colon cancer, however, come with a 95% recovery rate, says another doctor. A higher-stage cancer that remains localized would likely mean chemotherapy. Under such treatment, “you wouldn't lose your hair, the treatment is very well tolerated and it would be possible for him to work during that time.” As it stands, Chavez is indeed working, yesterday meeting with soldiers—though he looked paler and thinner than usual. “I promise that we will live and win” against the disease, he said. (Read more Hugo Chavez stories.)

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