House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, he announced Tuesday.
Scalise, 57, has begun treatment and plans to return to Washington, D.C.
“After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done. The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer,” Scalise said in a statement Tuesday.
“I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months. 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 said.
The House of Representatives returns from its August recess in mid-September.
“I am incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable. I am thankful for my excellent medical team, and with the help of God, support of my family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges,” Scalise said.
The No. 2 House Republican has been in GOP leadership since 2014, rising from whip to majority leader after his party took control of the chamber this year.
In 2017, Scalise was shot by a man targeting Republicans during a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game. After a few months of absence as he recovered from serious wounds, he was met with a standing ovation and cheers on the House floor when he returned.
E. Anders Kolb, president & CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, said in a statement in light of Scalise’s diagnosis that while there is no cure for multiple myeloma, it “is treatable if detected early enough.”
“Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects a person’s plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell found in the bone marrow. Healthy plasma cells produce antibodies, which help fight infection. Unfortunately, if left untreated, myeloma cells can multiply and continue to grow in a person’s bone marrow. When left untreated, these cancer cells can limit the body’s ability to fight infection, cause kidney damage and lead to bone pain and debilitating fractures,” Kolb said.
“Over the years, countless treatment advances have proven effective in reducing symptoms, slowing disease progression and prolonging life while preserving a patient’s quality of life,” Kolb said.
Updated at 1:37 p.m.