(JTA) — Jailed Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross may have a cancerous tumor that needs to be treated, his lawyer said.
Gross has an unidentified mass behind his right shoulder, according to reports. Cuban doctors declared the mass to be a hematoma that would reabsorb over time.
CT and ultrasound scans of the mass conducted by the Cuban doctors were sent to Gross’ lawyers in the United States.
"Gross has a potentially life-threatening medical problem that has not been adequately evaluated to modern medical standards," U.S. radiologist Dr. Alan Cohen said in a statement released by Gross’ attorney Jared Genser.
Cohen said in his statement that Gross should be treated at a U.S. hospital and that the mass should be biopsied. A "soft tissue mass in an adult who has lost considerable weight must be assumed to represent a malignant tumor unless proven to be benign," the doctor said, according to Reuters.
Gross, 63, of Potomac, Md., was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for "crimes against the state." He was arrested in 2009 for allegedly bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community while working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency on International Development.
Last month, a Cuban Foreign Ministry official rejected claims by Gross’ wife, Judy, that Gross was in ill health, and also said Cuba was willing to negotiate his release with U.S. officials, reportedly in exchange for five Cuban spies, four of whom remain in jail in the U.S.
Gross reportedly has lost more than 100 pounds since his arrest and his family says he is suffering from degenerative arthritis. His mother is dying and one of his daughters has cancer.