Ecuador president going to U.S. cancer center following melanoma diagnosis

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FILE PHOTO: Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso is traveling to a U.S. hospital known for its cancer treatment for medical tests and will likely have surgery there after being diagnosed with melanoma on this right eyelid, he said on Tuesday, saying it would not affect his presidential duties.

Lasso, a former banker and businessman who took office in May of last year, underwent surgery on July 29 to remove a carcinoma in the lower part of the eyelid, but will follow up with more tests at his doctor's recommendation, he said at a press briefing before departing for Houston on Tuesday evening.

Lasso said he was going to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"I feel very good," Lasso told reporters before departing. "It is an issue that must be dealt with to prevent it from spreading in the future, in this case, all over my face."

Lasso said he will likely have another surgery on his eyelid on Thursday.

It is the second time Lasso has traveled to the United States for health issues. In June 2021, he had surgery to remove a cyst in his lower back.

The president also said that before his trip, he was able to determine the topics of a popular vote set to take place next year.

Lasso is scheduled to return from the U.S. on Aug. 21.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Leslie Adler)