Brazil's ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is optimistic that the chemotherapy due to start for his larynx cancer will be successful, revealed one of his lead doctors on Sunday.
"He is in good spirits and on board, committed, and that is key to the success of any treatment," Dr. Roberto Kalil Jr. told reporters outside Lula's home in Sao Bernardo do Campo.
Officials in Brazil announced last week that the 66-year-old Lula was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx following a series of tests. The popular ex-president -- who was Brazil's first democratically elected leftist president -- prepares for his first chemotherapy session on Monday.
"It is a localized tumor in the larynx, without ramifications, and it is perfectly treatable," Paulo Hoff, one of the doctors treating Lula at the Sirio-Lbanes Hospital, told the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Jose Crispiniano, a spokesman for the Citizenship Institute that Lula created after leaving office, said the ex-president -- a former smoker -- went to the hospital on Friday complaining of throat pain.
Lula, who is known for his raspy voice, was "even hoarser than usual," he said.
The former Brazilian leader will have his first chemotherapy session on Monday, Crispiniano said.
The news came as a shock to Brazilians, who adore the former metal worker and labor activist, who left power with a soaring 80 percent approval rating after two consecutive terms from January 2003 to December 2010.
Lula's social programs helped lift 29 million Brazilians out of poverty, and his foreign policy helped turn Brazil into a global power player.
President Dilma Rousseff, a Lula protege and his successor, was seen by some as a place holder until Lula could legally re-take the reins of power. Brazil's constitution prohibits a third consecutive term.
Hugo Chavez on Sunday offered words of support to Lula.
"On behalf of all the Venezuelan people and from my own experience having lived through a similar situation, I want to express -- in the name of the kinship that unites me with my friend Lula -- my deep wish that the treatment he will be undergoing over the next several weeks leads to his speedy recovery," Chavez said in a statement issued by his office.
"Lula knows that I will be paying close attention to everything going on with his treatment -- just as he has supported me during all that I have gone through and that I am facing," he said in his statement.
"Lula, we will live, and we will win!" Chavez said.
The Venezuelan leader on June 20 had surgery to remove a malignant tumor, though no information has been released about the type or severity of his illness.
Chavez, whose illness treated was by experts in Cuba, recently said however that he has been told by his doctors that he is cancer-free.