Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses the nation during a televised… (VTV via Reuters TV / Reuters )
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has acknowledged that he's fighting cancer, but he won't say what kind. Chavez, who looked as if he'd lost some weight, spoke from Cuba, where he's been at a medical facility for three weeks. Officials have said that Chavez had emergency surgery June 10 for a pelvic abscess, a collection of pus -- kind of like a dangerous internal pimple -- that's generally situated in the lower abdomen.
Chavez said that the abscess-removal procedure had happened, but that doctors had detected cancerous cells and had removed a tumor.
How long it will take to recover is unclear -- Chavez and officials have not released much information about the cancer or how developed it is, and have indicated that it may be as much as six months before Chavez is back governing in Venezuela.
The pelvic surgery alone would take a few weeks at least to recover from. Pelvic abscesses typically happen after gynecological surgeries, as this study published in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology seems to imply. But they can happen, and if they break, "Rupture of a pelvic abscess is life threatening and requires immediate surgery," the study notes.
And though it's been weeks since the surgery, it can take time to recover, according to a study published in the journal Surgical Innovation. Patients fared better if they were younger, female, and were undergoing surgery for "benign" diseases -- none of which describe Mr. Chavez. In fact, patients who underwent cancer surgery were among those "more likely to require longer recovery time."
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