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2019.08.28 15:09

Lithuanian PM announces he has blood cancer

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis disclosed on Wednesday he has stage 1 lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

“It's lymphoma, stage 1, no spreading, and I am undergoing treatment, it’s chemotherapy,” the prime minister told journalists on Wednesday.

“I completed the first cycle [of chemotherapy] yesterday, and I feel great today,” he said.

He added that the treatment will last until November. “The doctors expect full recovery, and so do I,” Skvernelis added.

The prime minister said he expected to continue carrying out his duties.

Skvernelis said changes in his lymphatic system were spotted during a health examination he underwent soon after the presidential election in May. He ran for the office as the candidate of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

“Unfortunately, only during an operation the diagnosis could be determined,” the prime minister said. The surgery was performed a few weeks ago and went well, according to Skvernelis.

Earlier this week, President Gitanas Nausėda allowed the prime minister to take sick leave until October 4, if necessary. Under the presidential decree, Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas would stand in for Skvernelis.

The prime minister says he feels capable of working, but will have to have some time off due to medical procedures. He needs to avoid too much contact with people for fear of infection.

“That's the only obstacle that might make any communication difficult. And all the rest: sittings are taking place, meetings are taking place, foreign guests are planned,“ he said. “For now, I really can say that I don't feel anything changing in my working ability.”

The prime minister took several days off this week, including Monday and Tuesday.

The prime minister said during the press conference that lymphoma was diagnosed to several dozen thousand of people in Lithuania, and called on people to check their health.

“I can be a good example. You need to check you health, even if you feel great. I have always felt great and I now feel great, and I felt great before the surgery,” the prime minister said.