Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis announced Monday morning that he will have surgery next week for prostate cancer.
The surgery will take place in North Carolina and his prognosis was “good” since the cancer was detected “relatively early,” he said in a statement.
“I am in the hands of outstanding medical professionals and expect to make a full recovery,” Tillis said. “I am blessed that my cancer was detected relatively early, and I can’t emphasize enough how important routine screenings are, regardless of how healthy you think you are.”
Tillis, 60, won a second term in the U.S. Senate in November, defeating Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham. He previously served as speaker of the N.C. House.
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer among men behind non-melanoma skin cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Age, according to the CDC, is the biggest risk actor, with Black men and those with a family history of cancer more likely to contract the disease.
Statistics from 2017 show there were 121 new cases of prostate cancer per 100,000 men in North Carolina, with lung cancer a distant second at 75 cases per 100,000 men. The national rate for new prostate cancer cases was 107 per 100,000 men, according to the CDC.
Regular screening, thereby catching prostate cancer early, is the best treatment, according to the CDC. One screening test is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which can red flag any abnormalities.
“I had no symptoms and would have never imagined I had cancer,” Tillis said. “My prognosis is good because I went to my annual physical and received a PSA test, which led to a biopsy and eventually my diagnosis.
“Early detection can truly save lives.”
The prostate cancer diagnosis is the latest in a string of medical issues for Tillis.
In October, amid his reelection campaign, Tillis tested positive for COVID-19. Then in mid-January he had foot surgery, which forced him to miss the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
The recent cancer diagnosis doesn’t appear to have stopped Tillis from working. Last week, he joined nearly two dozen GOP senators on a tour of the southern border.
Tillis was first elected to the Senate in 2014, and he won reelection this past November.
He previously served four terms in the state House of Representatives — two as the speaker of the House — and one term on the Cornelius Town Board of Commissioners.
Senior North Carolina reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: USA Today – Breaking News