Brazilian vice president, José Alencar, 75, is in New York where he is scheduled to undergo a surgery for removal of a malignant tumor in the abdomen on Tuesday, November 14. Today he had an appointment with oncologist Murray F. Brennan at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Alencar, who is accompanied by family members, including his wife Mariza and his son Josué Christiano, is staying in a hotel in Park Avenue, in Manhattan. His oncologist, Dr. Paulo Hoff, is also with him.
The vice president, a rich entrepreneur, is paying himself for food, hotel and medical treatment. The Brazilian government, however, is picking up the tab for the expenses of the 16 people who came with him including bodyguards, aides, diplomats and military personnel.
He seems very optimistic and upbeat and says he is feeling good: "I don’t feel any disease symptom. It it weren’t for the exams I wouldn’t know a thing. Everything is going to be fine, I’ll do it in style."
Alencar had surgery for a malignant tumor removal on July 18, in the Sírio-Libanês hospital in São Paulo. After his July surgery, however, the politician stopped medical care to dedicate himself to the reelection campaign of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Apparently he didn’t do any exam during this period to avoid speculations in the media about his health.
The elections occurred on November 1st and 29, in two rounds. Lula and Alencar ended up winning another four-year mandate with more than 60% of the votes. The new tumor was found one day after the second round of the elections when he went back for exams.
The vice president has been facing medical problems for close to a decade. Besides the abdomen tumor which was removed earlier this year, in 1997 he got rid off a kidney and stomach tumor and in 2000 he had a prostate tumor excised. Last year he also had an angioplasty and a stent was placed in one of his heart arteries to help the blood flow.
Soon after winning the election Lula praised Alencar for his effort during the campaign and revealed that his vice president ignored the advice of his doctors and took part in motorcades and other events that required quite some stamina and energy.
Said Lula "I want to publicly thank my vice president’s jovial participation. Zé Alencar, underwent surgery during the electoral campaign. His doctors didn’t want him taking part in motorcades and rallies, but he was participating in everything as if he were a 18-year-old boy."
If everything works out as planned he should go back to the Brazil November 24.