Dodd Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

Surgery scheduled for August recess

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, his office said.

The Democratic 65-year-old lawmaker will go through surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. when the Senate is on recess in August, and he expects to be back at work after a "brief recuperation" at home.

Doctors identified the cancer this summer. Dodd had a PSA test during his annual physical in June and it showed elevated levels, Dodd said. Doctors then conducted a biopsy, which confirmed he had prostate cancer.

"It's something that's very common among men my age,'' Dodd told the Hartford Courant. "In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their life.''

Dodd said he expected to be in the hospital for a day or two, take it easy for a week or so, then he’d be back to his regular schedule.

“I’m very confident that we’re going to come out of this well,” Dodd said.

Dodd’s wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, sat by his side during the news conference and said she and the couple’s children will be ready to “patch” Dodd up and get him back out there again.

“I’d like to think, if this is how many hours you can put in with cancer, I have no idea what you’re going to do without cancer,” she said.   

Dodd's political adviser, Jim Jordan, told Politico that Dodd’s condition was caught early.

“The procedure will be as routine as it can be; He’ll be down, out of commission for just two or three [weeks]; his health is otherwise superb; this in no way whatsoever affects his re-election plans."

“Now, I’ll be a little leaner and a little meaner,” Dodd said. “But I’ll be running.”

The National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be 192,280 cases of prostate cancer in the United States this year.

When a patient undergoes surgery, a surgeon could remove the entire prostate or just part of it, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Over the last six weeks, Dodd has spoken with people and read books to determine which course of action to take and decided on surgery to remove his prostate.  

Dodd had been asked by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) to usher health care reform legislation through Congress, while he battles brain cancer.

Dodd, who said he is working long hours and will continue to do so, is up for re-election in 2010.  It could be one of his most difficult re-election bids.

He is scheduled to hold a news conference at his Hartford office at 2 p.m.

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