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Updated: December 29, 2011 04:02 IST

Argentina's Kirchner has cancer

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Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. File photo
AFP Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. File photo

Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and will undergo surgery next week, two months after being re-elected in a landslide vote, her spokesman said.

Ms. Kirchner, the country's first elected woman President, was found to have cancer “on the right lobe of the thyroid gland” during a routine medical examination on December 22, said spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro.

“The illness has been contained,” Mr. Scoccimarro emphasized in a statement, adding the cancer had not metastasized. Tests carried out on Tuesday showed the cancer had also not spread to Ms. Kirchner's lymph nodes.

The 58-year-old Kirchner was expected to spend 72 hours in hospital and then three weeks recovering from the surgery, he said. During that time, her Vice-President Amado Boudou will carry out her duties.

“The prospects [for recovery] are excellent, and no one should expect any further development of the tumour after the operation,” said oncologist Marco Bruno. He added that because the tumour had been diagnosed early it could be safely removed, allowing the patient to lead a normal life.

Ms. Kirchner was re-elected in October with more than 54 per cent of the vote, a first-round landslide that buried her nearest competitors and won her back control of Congress. The win, a year after her husband and predecessor's sudden death, was powered by a slew of popular social programmes and years of strong, virtually uninterrupted economic growth.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo have all waged battles against the disease and say they are now cancer-free. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was diagnosed with throat cancer in late October.

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