House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a representative from Louisiana, announced on Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. Scalise, 57, described the cancer as "very treatable" and stated that he has already begun treatment. Despite his diagnosis, Scalise expressed his intention to continue working as Majority Leader and serving his constituents in Louisiana's First Congressional District.
Scalise revealed that he decided to seek medical attention after feeling unwell for a few days. Blood work revealed irregularities, leading to additional tests and the subsequent diagnosis of multiple myeloma. The congressman expressed gratitude for the early detection of the cancer and the availability of effective treatment options. He thanked his medical team and expressed his determination to face this challenge with the same strength and energy he has shown in the past.
The specifics of Scalise's treatment were not disclosed in the announcement. However, his diagnosis comes six years after he suffered severe injuries from a shooting incident during a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Scalise was shot in the hip and underwent numerous surgeries to regain his mobility. Despite the challenges he faced, he managed to return to his duties as a congressman and now serves as the second-most powerful Republican in the House.
Multiple myeloma is a rare form of blood cancer that affects plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. It is estimated that around 35,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with multiple myeloma annually, with men and Black individuals being more likely to be affected. The survival rate for patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma varies depending on the stage of the cancer, with approximately 60 percent of patients surviving for at least five years. Common complications include frequent infections and problems with bones and kidneys. Treatment options for multiple myeloma include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, and stem cell transplant.
Following Scalise's announcement, fellow Republicans expressed their support and admiration for his resilience. Representative Elise Stefanik of New York praised Scalise's toughness and kindness, while Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina commended his fighting spirit. The news of Scalise's diagnosis has shed light on his previous battle and recovery from the shooting incident, highlighting his determination and perseverance.
As Scalise prepares for his treatment and continues his work as Majority Leader, the nation will be watching closely, inspired by his strength and hopeful for a successful fight against multiple myeloma.
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