Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez acknowledged for the first time he may need radiotherapy or chemotherapy for ongoing treatment after cancer surgery in Cuba, the presidential office said.
”I'm in the second stage of the disease, (going through) an organ-by-organ assessment and other factors, I mustn't give more details, Chavez told state TV, according to a transcript.
His office said the next, third phase of treatment could mean the application of radiotherapy or chemotherapy for the 56-year-old populist leader.
Mystery has surrounded Chavez precise condition since surgery in Cuba last month to remove a cancerous tumour. Tuesday night Chavez attended a Catholic Mass for his health at a military academy.
Since his return, he has only made brief appearances on state television to try to counter rumours of a power vacuum at the top as speculation has swirled that he has cancer of the colon or the stomach.
Some people are saying that four parts of my colon were taken away, that part of my stomach was removed. Nothing like that has happened. It is cancer, but not as some would like, Chavez said
I had a huge tumour. When I saw the picture, I thought 'My God.' It was almost as big as a basketball, he added. Chavez admitted to having lost 14 kilos in the past month. “I was as fat as a tank…I was finding it hard to breathe and it was all my fault”.
Elected to the presidency three times since 1998, Chavez remains popular among Venezuelans with some 50% support according to the polls.
I feel better than ever,” he insisted, adding he was learning to delegate work to his cabinet.