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Venezuela's Chavez says he has cancer

July 1, 2011 at 7:01 AM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, July 1 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the nation in a televised speech he has been diagnosed with cancer.

In his first live appearance since undergoing emergency surgery June 10, Chavez said doctors had removed "cancerous cells" from his body, The Guardian reported Friday.

"This [is] the new battle that life has placed before us," he said.

Chavez had been out of the public eye for weeks, fueling discussions that he was gravely ill. Chavez was on a tour of South America and underwent emergency pelvic surgery in Cuba.

"I neglected my health and I was reluctant to have medical check-ups. It was a fundamental mistake for a revolutionary," Chavez said Thursday.

He said doctors detected "a strange formation in the pelvic region" in the first round of surgery, The Guardian reported. In a subsequent operation, doctors found "cancerous cells," Chavez said, without specifying the type of cancer detected.

"I have also been aware of a certain degree of concern and uncertainty that has ... [affected] the Venezuelan nation on top of the attempts at manipulation by some sectors of society that are well known to all," Chavez said. "Those feelings are inevitable and are part of human nature."

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