Governor Tom Wolf to begin treatment for prostate cancer

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he was recently diagnosed with a minor form of prostate cancer and will be treated in the coming weeks.   

Wolf, 67, said the cancer was detected several months ago during a routine checkup and then confirmed about two weeks ago through follow-up tests.   

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He declined to specify what his treatment will be, but he said it won't involve chemotherapy.

Wolf, a Democrat, recently finished a contentious first year in office without getting a full budget deal through the Republican-controlled Legislature.   

He said he would take a few days off, his first vacation as governor, before starting treatment near his home in the York area.   


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"What I'm going through is treatable and will actually not ... interfere with my duties as governor," he said.   

He said he should not need to turn over authority to the lieutenant governor.   

When Wolf's predecessor, Republican Tom Corbett, underwent back surgery in 2011, then-Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley served for a few hours as acting governor.

Cawley also took the state's reins for about 90 minutes in February 2014, when Corbett had hernia surgery.   

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.

In the United States alone, there were an estimated 220,000 new cases and 27,500 deaths from the disease last year.   

Radiation or surgery to remove the prostate is a common treatment when the disease is confined to the gland.

Most cases involve slow-growing tumors that carry a very low risk of morphing into the kind that can kill.   


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First lady Frances Wolf, who joined the governor at the news conference, said she believed the treatment will deal effectively with the cancer.

"We don't have to be sad about this," she said.

Gov. Wolf released the following atatement Wednesday morning.

“Frances and I recently learned I have prostate cancer that was thankfully detected early. My doctors made the diagnosis after a regular checkup revealed abnormalities. In consultation with my doctors, I have a planned treatment schedule that will begin in the coming weeks. Those treatments will last the next several months, but they will present no impairment to my ability to perform my duties as governor. Prior to beginning treatment, I will take a brief time to spend with my family. I am very thankful that my doctors caught this cancer quickly and have worked with me to plan a treatment schedule that will address my medical issues and allow me to serve the people of Pennsylvania. I encourage everyone in Pennsylvania to make sure they schedule regular checkups with their doctors and be aware of screening guidelines so early detection and treatment can be possible.”

The American Cancer Society says there are about 2.9 million living American men who at some point have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. It's rarely diagnosed before age 40.

 

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, second to lung cancer, and is blamed for about one in every 38 male deaths. The society says prostate cancer's 15-year relative survival rate is 94 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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