Chavez Says Weakened by Treatment but Cancer Hasn’t Spread


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday the cancer he has been battling has not spread, but admitted the chemotherapy treatment he is receiving had left him weakened.

"Chemotherapy hits hard," Chavez said in comments late Tuesday, noting that his body's defenses were down and that he had "areas of weakness" due to treatment he has been receiving in Cuba.

"There has been no metastasis," he added, saying the cancer "had not been detected anywhere else in [his] body."

Chavez took brief questions from reporters outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, alongside the secretary general of regional body UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and various cabinet ministers, but again refused to answer the queries on what type of cancer he has.

Chavez, 57, underwent an operation June 20 in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor in his pelvic area. After a brief return to Caracas, he traveled back to Havana on July 16 for a week to undergo his first chemotherapy treatment.

He insisted his health condition was not "serious" and maintained he was in "excellent spirits" despite returning Sunday from the latest round of treatment in a week-long stay in Cuba.

The firebrand leftist president, who follows a strict routine of medication, diet and exercise to help him in his recovery, said Sunday he had a good appetite, was gaining weight and had no nausea from the drugs.