Chavez set to begin new phase of chemotherapy

By the Associated Press | August 3, 2011 | 10:43 AM EDT

ALTERNATIVE CROP OF XAC101 - In this photo provided by Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks during the swearing in ceremony of two new ministers: Culture and Youth in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. Chavez appeared with his head shaved on Monday, saying his hair has begun to fall out as a result of his cancer treatment and said he expected his hair to begin falling out as a result of the chemotherapy. "It indicates the treatment is being effective," he said. (AP Photo/Miraflores Presidential Office)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that he will start another round of chemotherapy soon and that he expects to become bald within days due to his cancer treatment.

Chavez said he and his doctors were considering whether he should return to Cuba for his second phase of chemotherapy or receive the treatment in Venezuela. He spent a week in Cuba last month for his first round of chemotherapy, and he appeared on television with a close-shaved head on Monday saying his hair had begun to fall out.

"In the coming hours, I should being the second phase of chemotherapy," Chavez said in a telephone call aired live on state television.

"My hair continues to fall out. I'm going to be totally bald in a few days, with my new look," Chavez said. "I will inform the country, of course, when the second phase of chemotherapy is going to begin, where we're going to have it."

The 57-year-old president says the treatment aims to ensure that malignant cells don't reappear after he underwent a June 20 surgery in Cuba that removed a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. He has not specified where the tumor was located or with what type of cancer he was diagnosed.

Chavez said the bulk of his treatment has been based in Cuba because "that's where the detection occurred and everything is there, all the equipment, the medical team and very specialized facilities." But he also said his medical team is "evaluating the possibility of doing another session here."

Chavez said that in his next round of treatment he could receive up to four doses of chemotherapy drugs.