UPDATE 2-President of Panama is diagnosed with a blood condition, will seek a second opinion

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PANAMA CITY, June 20 (Reuters) – Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo announced on Monday that he was diagnosed with a blood cell condition, known as myelodysplastic syndrome, for which he will seek a second medical opinion in the United States.

Myelodysplastic syndrome is considered a type of cancer that affects the body’s ability to make blood cells in the bone marrow, according to the American Cancer Society.

Cortizo, whose mandate began in mid-2019 and will end in 2024, assured that despite his diagnosis he is in good physical condition and said that he will continue to carry out his regular activities.

“I feel good, in good spirits,” he said, reading a brief statement.

The 69-year-old president announced that next month, after presenting his government’s annual report, he will undergo a new medical evaluation, with molecular biology tests in Houston, Texas, in order to corroborate the diagnosis.

Treatments for myelodysplastic syndrome can range from transfusions, to chemotherapy, to stem cell transplants. Cortizo did not specify if he receives treatment.

In recent months, the president has had an intense work schedule, mainly in the interior of the country, where he has met with indigenous communities and producers, as a result of programs to encourage local production amid rising food prices and the fuel. (Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Diego Oré and Noé Torres)

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