Ricardo Lombana gets cancer diagnosis

Archive photo of Ricardo Lombana. In 2019 he made a strong showing as an independent, but now he leads a new party, the Movimiento Otro Camino (MOCA). Polls show Ricardo Martinelli, who may be disqualified for his criminal conviction, in first place and Lombana in a dead heat with several others for second place in May’s presidential election.

Lombana says that he has prostate cancer

by Eric Jackson

In a video released on social media, presidential candidate Ricardo Lombana said that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Acknowledging a difficult situation, he pointed out that the malady is treatable and vowed to continue his campaign for the presidency.

Men actually do die of prostate cancer, but when detected early enough and properly treated, they frequently die of other things with cancer, not of cancer.

We get into balances of the medical privacy of public figures versus voters’ concerns about candidates’ physical capabilities. This editor, the son of a doctor and son and grandson of nurses, takes medical privacy more seriously than some of the other Panamanian media, but on the other hand Lombana himself announced the cancer diagnosis.

To the extent that it’s a campaign issue, Lombana’s health would tend to focus a bit more attention on his running mate, Colon business leader Michael Chen.

Before this announcement, cancer became a campaign issue because the present PRD administration and legislative majority put low priority on the nation’s cancer hospital, the Instituto Oncologico Nacional, such that it ran short on medicine and supplies, and features long lines waiting for treatment. (But HEY, the deputy DID have more than a thousand bicycles to give away.) In the recently inaugurated Ciudad de Salud complex, the Cortizo administration says that there will be a cancer treatment and research facility. So far that is not open, supplied or staffed.

Lombana has taken the opportunity of this health crisis of his to advocate for more transparency in government and politics, as painful as this can sometimes be.


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