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A cancerous tumor was discovered in Luiz Inacio da Silva’s larynx on Saturday. Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, is familiar with the health crisis that Silva, the former Brazilian leader, currently faces. Chavez has had problems with cancer in the past; he has been recovering from chemotherapy and a previous surgery in June, where a malignant tumor was removed from his pelvic region.
Chavez sent a message of solidarity to the former Brazilian president in response to his diagnosis on Sunday and expressed hope for a speedy recovery from the chemotherapy Silva would soon be undergoing. Silva is considered to be in good condition and his chemotherapy and treatment will begin on an outpatient basis.
His diagnosis undermined speculation that he would be running for president again in 2014. During his previous presidential reign, Silva was responsible for the unemployment rate dropping to a record low, cutting the country’s inflation rate by more than half, and bringing up 21 million Brazilians from poverty. He was the most popular Brazilian president ever and served two presidential terms.
Though he stepped down as president, Silva still participates in politics and is the honorary head of the Worker’s Party. His successor, Dilma Rousseff, continues to consult him over political matters. She, too, was treated for cancer in 2009. Doctors informed Finance Minister Guido Mantega that Silva’s cancer was caught in its early stages.
It is possible for throat cancer to be cured in 90 percent of the people diagnosed with it, as long as it is caught early. Smoking and excessively drinking increase the risk of throat cancer. Silva has admitted to smoking in the past. If the cancer pervades into the lymph nodes and surrounding tissues, only 60 percent of patients can be cured.
Rousseff is confident that Silva will make a complete recovery. She survived having lymphoma herself. Silva’s tumor is not large, according to Artur Katz, the oncologist treating Silva. It measures between two and three centimeters. Chavez commented that he will be praying for Silva’s recovery and will closely follow his medical situation, just as Silva did when Chavez was battling cancer.
Chavez claims to be free of cancer now, but a Venezuelan doctor who treated him in the past insists he only has a couple of years to live. The doctor has since fled the country out of fear for his life, and Chavez denies his claims and denounces him as a liar. Silva’s physician, Dr. Roberto Kalil, says that the Brazilian leader is meeting this challenge with a positive attitude.
“He’s very calm. Obviously, at first, there was anxiety, a shock. He arrived in excellent spirits, in his usual way, extremely confident,” said Kalil. It will take around 40 days to observe how Silva’s tumor will respond to chemotherapy.
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