Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, who will have cancer surgery next week, thanked regional leaders and Argentines for their support in her first appearance since her illness was made public.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARGENTINE PRESIDENT CRISTINA FERNANDEZ, SAYING:
"First of all, I want to say thanks for the showing of solidarity and affection from all Argentines and also from my Presidential friends. You can imagine who was the first to call me last night. I finished work at ten and he was already calling me. And so I answered the phone at the residency and it was Hugo Chavez Frias, the first president to call me."
The fifty-eight year old Fernandez has been diagnosed with a common form of thyroid cancer. Doctors say there are signs the disease has spread. They say her prospects look good and she will not need chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
It was front page news in the capital Buenos Aires ... where residents are wishing her well.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) UNIDENTIFIED BUENOS AIRES RESIDENT SAYING:
"This kind of illness can happen to anyone. I think it is very common and connected to the pressure that comes with being in power, and well, I hope she gets through it well and the operation goes well,"
Fernandez's cancer scare comes less than a month after she was sworn in for a second four-year term after winning a landslide re-election in October.
The operation is scheduled to take place at the Austral Hospital in suburban Pilar on January 4 and she is expected to take a leave of absence until January 24.
Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.