Chavez acknowledged the seriousness of his situation in a televised address Saturday night, saying for the first time that if he suffers complications Vice President Nicolas Maduro should take his place as Venezuela's leader and continue his socialist movement.
"There are risks. Who can deny it?" Chavez said, seated at the presidential palace beside Maduro and other aides.
"In any circumstance, we should guarantee the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution," Chavez said.
Several outside medical experts said that based on Chavez's account of his condition and his treatment so far, they doubt the cancer can be cured.
Chavez said he hasn't given up.
"I hope to give you all good news in the coming days," said Chavez, who held up a crucifix and kissed it. "With the grace of God, we'll come out victorious."