Argentina's Kirchner has cancer
Buenos Aires - 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 spokesperson said.
Kirchner, the country's first elected female 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," Scoccimarro emphasised in a statement, adding the cancer had not metastasized. Tests carried out Tuesday showed the cancer had also not spread to Kirchner's lymph nodes, he added.
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," oncologist Marco Bruno, a member of the Argentina Cancer Association, told local television.
He added that because the tumour had been diagnosed early it could be safely removed, allowing the patient to lead a normal life.
Kirchner was re-elected in October with more than 54% 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 programs and years of strong, virtually uninterrupted economic growth.
In her swearing-in speech on December 10, Kirchner outlined her plans to Congress, sticking to policies supporting domestic industries and consumer spending despite the economic storm clouds over Europe.