Chavez Cancer Has Returned, More Treatment Needed

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez admitted publicly for the first time Sunday that a lesion removed last week in Cuba was a recurrence of cancer and said he would need more radiotherapy treatment.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a meeting with his cabinet while recovering from a surgery in Havana March 3, 2012. Chavez on Sunday appeared on a television program recorded in Cuba, where he is recovering almost a week after a surgery. Picture taken March 3, 2012.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez admitted publicly for the first time Sunday that a lesion removed last week in Cuba was a recurrence of cancer and said he would need more radiotherapy treatment.

"The tumor was completely removed and what we assumed was confirmed: It's a recurrence of the cancer I was originally diagnosed with," Chavez, who faces a tough reelection battle later this year, said on state television.

Chavez underwent surge in Havana last week for what he called a "lesion" in the same area around the pelvis where a tumor was extracted in June 2011.

He declared himself cancer-free last October, but announced last month that a new, potentially malignant lesion had been discovered.

Venezuelan officials have never specified the kind of cancer the leftist president is suffering from, but they have denied the disease has spread to other organs.

The leftist firebrand, who has been in power since 1999 is running for a third term in office and faces a strong challenge from 39-year-old Henrique Capriles, who was chosen as the sole opposition candidate to run against him in elections later this year.