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Lula Starts Chemotherapy as Cancer Dents Political Future

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who stepped down this year as Brazil’s most popular president ever, will begin chemotherapy treatment today to eradicate a cancerous tumor in his throat that is undermining speculation he’ll try to regain power in 2014.

Doctors found a 2-3 centimeter tumor in Lula’s throat Oct. 29, two days after he celebrated his 66th birthday. The cancer was detected early and won’t require surgery, which would’ve put at risk his ability to speak, though three sessions of outpatient chemotherapy means he may lose his hair and the trademark beard he’s worn since gaining prominence as a union leader in the 1980s.