August 20, 2010 / 5:09 PM / 9 years ago

Paraguay leader to weekend rest due chemotherapy

ASUNCION, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, who was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer this month, will scale back his weekend activities on doctors’ advice, a government minister said on Friday.

Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop who has led the poor, soy-exporting nation for two years, started chemotherapy to treat his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last week and doctors say he has yet to suffer any side effects from the treatment.

The president’s health issues will not keep him from work, Communications Minister Augusto Dos Santos told local radio soon after Lugo left his office to see a doctor at home.

"What we want is for the president to be very active Monday through Friday ... and we want to take advantage of the weekends for the president to take it easy, when it doesn’t affect his agenda," he said.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout the body.

Lugo’s doctors have said the cancer is in an advanced stage, but that there is a high chance it is curable. The treatment is likely to consist of an additional five chemotherapy sessions over the next four to six months.

Lugo said last week that his doctors told him the chemotherapy treatment would not affect his ability to govern. Lugo’s five-year term ends in 2013.

Lugo, who quit the church to run for the presidency three years ago, has been under pressure in recent months due to murders and kidnappings blamed on a small armed group operating in remote northern areas bordering Bolivia and Brazil. [ID:nN2898573] (Reporting by Daniela Desantis, Writing by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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