The recently re-elected President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer following a routine medical check up.
According to media reports, the President is due to undergo surgery on Jan 4 2012 and will be in hospital for approximately three days. She is expected to return to work on Jan 24 2012. In a report in El Pais newspaper, doctors are quoted as saying that she has the least aggressive form of thyroid cancer, which has a recovery rate of 95 percent. Whilst she is recuperating from the operation, her Vice-President, Amado Boudou will be in charge of the country. The 58 year old president will be treated in the most prestigious private hospital in Argentina, the Austral Hospital in Buenos Aires. It was there that a routine check up showed up the presence of the cancer.
In a report in ABC newspaper, doctors are quoted as saying that the tumour is 'encapsulated' in the right lobe of the thyroid and that there is no sign that the cancer has spread any further. The routine medical took place on Dec 22.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was first elected to the presidency in 2007 following the presidency of her husband, Nestor Kirchner who died of a heart attack in October 2010. She became the first elected female president of Argentina. This year, she decided to run for a second term, winning easily with a majority of around 54 percent of the vote. She has proved very popular with the people as she has managed to turn the Argentinian economy round with the country now going through a period of strong economic growth.
She has taken a strong stand over the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands, known to Argentinians as 'Las Malvinas, butting heads with British Prime Minister David Cameron who used his Christmas message to insist that Britain "would never surrender the islands to Argentina."
Argentina's president is the latest in a list of South American leaders to suffer cancer scares with the Presidents of Venezuela, Brazil and Paraguay all having suffered from the disease. All have recovered after treatment.