Colombia's Santos checks into hospital for cancer surgery

BOGOTA Wed Oct 3, 2012 8:00am EDT

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BOGOTA Oct 3 (Reuters) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos checked into a hospital on Wednesday to undergo surgery for non-aggressive prostate cancer, an operation for which the 61-year-old is expected to make a swift recovery.

Midway through his four-year term, Santos surprised the Andean nation on Monday announcing that doctors had discovered a cancerous growth. He said the disease had been caught in time and there was minimal risk.

Santos checked into the Fundacion Santa Fe hospital in a plushy business district in northern Bogota at around 6:15 am local time (1115 GMT).

"The time has come, here I am going in, I'm optimistic. God willing, everything will be fine," Santos told reporters.

The surgery will be performed under local anesthesia and is expected to take a few hours. Santos' urologist, Felipe Gomez, has said that he will give an update on the president's condition around midday.

Santos' treatment will not require chemotherapy, Gomez has said, and the president will likely spend two to three days in hospital following the surgery, while a complete recovery will likely take up to three weeks.

The father-of-three is not allowed to travel during that period, but will be able to carry out his official duties.

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