Cuba: Jailed American Alan Gross doesn't have cancer
Alan Gross, center, is visited by David Prinstein, president of the Patronato synagogue in Havana, and Adela Dworin, president of the Cuban Jewish Community, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. / CBS News
WASHINGTON The Cuban government says a test shows an American imprisoned in Cuba doesn't have cancer, countering a previous statement by a US doctor that a mass on his shoulder should be assumed cancerous unless proven harmless.
Cuban and American officials met Monday to discuss Alan Gross' health, Cuban officials said in a statement Wednesday. During the meeting officials discussed in part an Oct. 24 biopsy that confirmed that a lump on Gross' right shoulder is not cancerous. The one-page statement from Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the test "could not be performed before due to Mr. Gross' refusal" and that Gross' wife, a resident of the District of Columbia, was given the test results during a meeting in Washington on Monday.
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The Cuban medical team treating Gross said "the general health condition of Mr. Gross is normal" though he is being treated for "chronic illnesses that are typical of his age."
A U.S. doctor who previously reviewed tests performed on Gross in Cuba before the biopsy said they were inadequate. Dr. Alan A. Cohen, a Maryland radiologist, said in early October that the mass "has yet to be properly evaluated." Cohen suggested it would be preferable if Gross was immediately examined at a facility in the United States.
Gross, 63, has been in prison in Cuba since late 2009. He was working as a U.S. government subcontractor when he was arrested, and his case has become a source of tension in U.S.-Cuba relations. Both sides have spent the past several months going back and forth with statements about the growth on his shoulder. His lawyer and family want to be able to choose a doctor to examine him. The Cuban government has said his health is fine.
A New York rabbi who saw Gross on Tuesday also said the growth was not cancerous. Rabbi Elie Abadie, a gastroenterologist, told The Associated Press in an interview that he had examined Gross and received a lengthy briefing on his health.
Next week will mark three years since Gross was arrested.
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