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Chemotherapy a possibility, Venezuela's Chavez says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The Venezuelan president is suffering from an undisclosed type of cancer
  • He is in the second phase of treatment, he says
  • A third phase could include chemotherapy and radiation therapy

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his cancer treatment may require radiation therapy and chemotherapy, comments that shed a little more light on the state of his health after he underwent surgery to remove a tumor last month.

The president, speaking to state-run broadcaster VTV Wednesday, said he was in the second phase of his cancer treatment, "which includes an organ-by-organ evaluation and other factors about which I shouldn't give more details," he said.

A third phase of treatment, he said, could include radiation therapy and chemotherapy, Chavez said.

Such a treatment "could be a little hard, but it is precisely to try to protect the body against this type of malignant cells, that threaten where they reside," he said.

The Venezuelan leader made a surprise return to his country July 4 after spending more than three weeks undergoing medical treatment in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor.

Chavez has not said where the tumor was located or specified what his treatment entails, raising questions about his health and the country's political future.

Despite speculation that a frail Chavez could alter the political landscape in a country where his personality is so large, the president -- who said he's under 24-hour medical supervision -- made it clear that he is still calling the shots.

"I am in my barracks, but still commanding," he said.