Argentine President Cristina Kirchner diagnosed with cancer
ARGENTINE President Cristina Kirchner has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and will undergo surgery in the new year, officials have said.
Mrs Kirchner, who recently began her second term after easily winning a landslide re-election in October, was found to have cancer "on the right lobe of the thyroid gland" during a routine medical examination on December 22, spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said.
Doctors confirmed that the cancer hadn't spread to other parts of her body or affected her lymph nodes, Mr Scoccimarro said.
"The illness has been contained," he added.
The 58 year-old is due to have an operation at Buenos' Aires Hospital Austral to removed the papillary thyroid carcinoma in her neck on Jan 4.
Papillary carcinoma is the most common type of thyroid cancer and normally affects people under the age of 40, especially women.
Mrs Kirchner, who still wears black following the death of her husband Nestor last year, will remain in hospital for 72 hours, taking time off from her duties for 20 days until Jan 24. Vice-President Amado Boudou is expected to stand in for Mrs Kirchner during this period.
Government officials played down the diagnosis saying Mrs Kirchner will still continue her normal routine until the surgery, attending several events tomorrow as planned.
The president of Argentina's health was drawn in to question earlier this year after she cancelled numerous trips abroad. She was also found to be suffering from low blood pressure on three occasions, forcing her to take time off.
Mrs Kirchner's government is currently in a stand-off with Britain over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. David Cameron used his Christmas message this year to pledge that Britain would never surrender the islands to Argentina after the Mercosur bloc, which includes Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, banned trade with ships baring the Falklands flag.
Mrs Kirchner is one of several Latin American leaders to suffer from cancer in recent years. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo have all waged battles against the disease and say they are now cancer-free.