CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday announced that he would travel perhaps next week to Cuba for a new third round of chemotherapy in his ongoing battle against cancer.

Previously Chavez, 57, had said further chemotherapy to treat his cancer was a possibility, but he had not announced if it would be needed, or undertaken.

"Next week, I may be going (to Cuba) for another round of chemotherapy," the president told reporters at Miraflores presidential palace. He did not give a precise date, and added that the treatment would be "preventive."

"But I am really fit. I am fit. And I can be up here for four hours on my feet," Chavez told reporters after meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Chavez has said he underwent surgery in Cuba in June for a malignant tumour in his pelvic area. He has not offered more detailed information on his cancer, for which he underwent chemotherapy rounds in July and August.

Since then Chavez has reduced his public appearances, lost some weight and his hair from his cancer treatment, as he says he has been working on physical therapy and a recovery plan that requires him to work fewer hours than normal.

But the leftist populist, a former paratrooper and staunch critic of the United States who has been in power since 1999, says he will run in and win the 2012 presidential race.

Chavez, the vocal leader of an alliance of leftist Latin American governments funded by Caracas' oil wealth, is also the main ally of isolated Cuba. Havana is the Americas' only one-party Communist regime.