Brazil's ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula was hospitalized Monday to begin chemotherapy treatment for larynx cancer with his doctors assuring that the prognosis is good.
Lula, 66, suffers from the most common form of larynx cancer, one considered moderately aggressive, and has "very good possibilities of recovery," his medical team said.
He will undergo three rounds of chemotherapy at 21-day intervals through the end of the year, and then undergo radiation therapy in January, said Roberto Kalil Filho, Lula's lead doctor.
Lula arrived at Sao Paulo's Sirio-Libanes Hospital just days after his condition was diagnosed. Accompanied by his wife Marisa Leticia, the Brazilian leader skirted dozens of journalists who had gathered at the door of the hospital awaiting his arrival.
"He is well, relaxed, and he arrived in excellent spirits," Kalil said, adding that Lula would spend the night in the hospital and then undergo tests on Tuesday.
Oncologist Artur Katz said there were no plans for surgery because the prognosis for recovery with chemotherapy were good.
"It is a localized tumor in the larynx, without ramifications, and it is perfectly treatable," Paulo Hoff, one of the doctors treating Lula, told the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Lula, a former smoker who is known for his raspy voice, was diagnosed with cancer on Saturday after going to the hospital complaining of throat pain.
He was "even hoarser than usual," said Jose Crispiniano, a spokesman for the Citizenship Institute that Lula created after leaving office.
News of his cancer came as a shock to Brazilians, who adore the former metal worker and labor activist. He left power with a soaring 80 percent approval rating, after two consecutive terms from January 2003 to December 2010.
His social programs helped lift 29 million Brazilians out of poverty, and his foreign policy helped turn Brazil into a global power player.
Lula canceled all his scheduled trips through the end of January, including a visit next month to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who also has been battling cancer.
"Lula, brother, We will live and overcome!" Chavez said on Sunday, wishing the Brazilian a rapid recovery. Chavez, who has never disclosed what kind of cancer he had, says that he is now cancer-free after four rounds of chemotherapy.
Brazil's current President Dilma Rousseff, who also was treated for cancer in 2009 before becoming a candidate, hoped to visit Lula Monday during a trip to Sao Paulo, her office told AFP.