By Michael Warren, AP
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has thyroid cancer, but test results Tuesday show that it remains limited to a lobe in the right side of her neck, and has not metastasized or spread into her lymph nodes, her spokesman said. The presidential medical service said the cancer was discovered during a routine exam on Dec. 22, and that Fernandez received the results from follow up tests on Tuesday, shortly before the announcement by Alfredo Scoccimarro. Fernandez will undergo surgery on Jan. 4 at the Hospital Austral in Buenos Aires and then take 20 days of medical leave, during which Vice President Amado Boudou will run the country, he said. Fernandez, 58, will keep up her normal routine meanwhile, Scoccimarro said, noting that she will appear at several events on Wednesday as planned. This kind of thyroid cancer is highly survivable, with more than 95 percent of patients living at least 10 years after detection, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The usual treatment is to surgically remove as much of the cancerous material as possible, and then follow up with radioactive iodide treatments, taken orally.
After surgery, patients usually must take medicine for the rest of their lives to replace a hormone that the thyroid glands produce. Blood tests every six to 12 months to measure thyroid levels also are recommended.