Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and she is scheduled to undergo surgery next week, two months after being re-elected in a landslide vote, her spokesman 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 Dec. 22, spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said.
“The illness has been contained,” Scoccimarro said in a statement, adding that the cancer had not metastasized.
Tests carried out on Tuesday showed the cancer had also not spread to Kirchner’s lymph nodes, he added.
The 58-year-old Kirchner is expected to spend 72 hours in hospital and then three weeks recovering from the surgery, he said. During that time, Argentine 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 tumor after the operation,” said oncologist Marco Bruno, a member of the Argentina Cancer Association.
He added that because the tumor 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 percent of the vote, a first-round landslide that buried her nearest competitors and won her back control of the National 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.
Former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner is credited with rescuing Argentina by breaking with the IMF, restructuring the debt and promoting spending.
As the president, Nestor co-governed with his wife, and when Cristina was elected at the end of 2007, Nestor was a top adviser.
He died of a heart attack on Oct. 27 last year at the age of 60 while the couple were on vacation at their resort home in southern Argentina.