Steve Scalise, the No. 2-ranking House Republican, said Tuesday he has been diagnosed with a form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma and is undergoing treatment.
Scalise, 57, said he will continue to serve in the House. He described the cancer as “very treatable” and said it was detected early.
The Louisiana Republican was among several people wounded in 2017 when a rifle-wielding attacker fired on lawmakers on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington. Scalise was shot in the hip and endured lengthy hospitalizations, multiple surgeries and painful rehabilitation.
The cancer diagnosis came, Scalise said, after he had not been feeling like himself in the past week. Blood tests showed some irregularities and after additional screening, he said he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
“I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months,” Scalise said in a statement. “I expect to work through this period and intend to return to Washington, continuing my work as Majority Leader and serving the people of Louisiana’s First Congressional District.”
Scalise also thanked his medical team and said he was “incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable.”
“The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer,” he said on X, the former Twitter. “I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months.”
Scalise said he expects to return to Washington to continue work as majority leader while he undergoes treatment. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the Congressman and his family – clearly, he’s gone through a lot over the past couple of years,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. “That is very sad news, and clearly we are hoping for a speedy recovery for him.”
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in white blood cells called plasma cells. Symptoms can include bone pain or breaks, backaches, frequent infections, anemia, weight loss and fatigue. It’s diagnosed through blood, urine, bone marrow and imaging tests. Some types of myeloma require careful monitoring, while others require active treatment.
Multiple myeloma is not considered curable, but patients can live for many years with treatment. While treatments may work early on, many patients stop responding or see their cancer progress and need to be treated with a new therapy.
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