Venezuela's Chavez says cancer back, plans surgery

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Associated Press

Posted on December 9, 2012 at 3:04 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 9 at 3:04 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced that his cancer has returned and that he will undergo another surgery in Cuba.

He told a TV audience Saturday night, that he would return to the island on Sunday to undergo surgery in the coming days.

Chavez called it a "new battle." It will be his third operation to remove cancerous tissue in about a year and a half.

Chavez, who won re-election on Oct. 7, also said for the first time that if his health were to worsen, his successor would be Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

The 58-year-old president said tests had shown a return of "some malignant cells" in the same area where tumors were previously removed.

Chavez first underwent cancer surgery for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer in Cuba in June 2011. He had another cancer surgery last February after a tumor appeared in the same area. He has also undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Chavez made his most recent trip to Cuba on the night of Nov. 27, saying he would receive hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Such treatment is regularly used to help heal tissues damaged by radiation treatment.

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