GOP Sen. Thom Tillis Diagnosed With Cancer, Says It Was Detected Early

March 29, 2021 Updated: March 30, 2021

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who won his reelection campaign last year, said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery, but is expected to fully recover.

“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 said in a March 29 statement. He added that doctors said he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Tillis, 60, emphasized annual checkups, saying that if he didn’t go to his, the prostate cancer wouldn’t have been detected early.

“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,” he said.

Tillis didn’t elaborate on the surgery or when it would occur.

In November 2020, Tillis was elected to a second term after defeating Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham. Before he was elected to the Senate, he was the speaker of North Carolina’s House of Representatives.

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) released a statement after Tillis’s announcement calling for recommendations to get screened.

“Renee and I are thankful Senator Tillis caught his cancer early and are praying for a quick and full recovery,” Hudson stated on March 29. “As a strong advocate for cancer screenings, I join with Sen. Tillis in encouraging everyone to follow cancer screening recommendations that help save lives every day.”

Tillis, meanwhile, traveled to the U.S.–Mexico border last week with a group of more than a dozen Republican senators.

The full Senate won’t convene again until mid-April. It isn’t clear whether Tillis will miss any days or votes in the Senate.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, with about 60 percent of cases being men over the age of 65, it being rare for males under 40.