Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights Pioneer, Diagnosed With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer
U.S Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) has stage four pancreatic cancer, his office announced Sunday.
The 79-year-old congressman said he was diagnosed after a routine medical visit and subsequent testing. Lewis will undergo treatment for the cancer.
“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis said in a statement.
He continued, “While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”
Lewis is known for his commitment to civil rights, and joined Martin Luther King Jr. in leading a voting march out of Selma, Alabama in 1965.
He is in his 17th term as a member of Congress, and plans to continue working in Washington before his treatment plan begins.
“I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon,” he said.
Stage four pancreatic cancer means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lungs or liver.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, the average patient diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer will live for about one year after diagnosis. Only three percent of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society.
Many have rallied around Lewis to support him as he undergoes treatment.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) tweeted a photo of the two of them and wrote, “we are all praying for you following this diagnosis.”
“John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight,” she continued. “We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well.”
.@RepJohnLewis, we are all praying for you following this diagnosis. John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight. We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well. pic.twitter.com/j7YMUGLPC2
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 29, 2019
Former President Barack Obama chimed in saying, “If there’s one thing I love about [Rep. John Lewis] it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him.”
If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 30, 2019
Lewis told his constituents to “please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”