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Cristina Fernandez, Argentina President, Never Had Thyroid Cancer

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BUENOS AIRES, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez never had cancer despite having been diagnosed with the disease last month and having her thyroid gland removed on Jan 4, her spokesman said on Saturday.

The government announced just after Christmas that the recently re-elected leader had thyroid cancer.

The operation to remove the gland went well, however when the gland was analysed it turned out to have never contained cancerous cells, said spokesman Alfredo Scoccimaro.

"The original diagnosis has been modified," he told a news conference. "The presence of cancer cells was discarded."

The president is expected to return to work late this month.

Several hundred Fernandez supporters had been camped out near the hospital where she was treated, carrying banners that said, "Strength Cristina."

The president, who won re-election with 54 percent of the vote in October, is popular among Argentines who agree with her generous welfare spending. Business leaders and farmers in the country's key grains sector however say her state-centric interventions in the economy scare away investment. (Reporting By Maximiliano Rizzi; writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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