Minnesota Congressman Announces He Has Stage 4 Cancer

February 20, 2020 Updated: February 20, 2020
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Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) announced on Feb. 19 that he has been receiving treatment for cancer for the past year, but he has no plans to step down.

The Minnesota Republican, who was elected in 2018, was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in February 2019, he said in a news release.

“Today, one year later, I am happy to say I feel great and continue to perform my job in Congress unimpeded. I have not missed even a single vote due to illness,” he said, adding that he “will keep fighting cancer and fighting for America and the people of southern Minnesota.”

Hagedorn said the cancer was discovered by chance and he received the diagnosis “exactly two months after marrying my wife, Jennifer, and just six weeks into my job as the First District’s congressman,” according to the release.

“I’ve been able to do my job, make hundreds of stops across the First District, hold 18 town hall meetings, and make 39 round trips to and from Washington, D.C. to perform my legislative duties,” he continued. “I am a candidate for reelection in 2020.”

The congressman wrote that he hopes the diagnosis will provide hope to others that those who have been diagnosed with a serious illness can still live normal lives.

His doctor, Lance Pagliaro, said in the statement that the Hagedorn “has responded well to immunotherapy, which has been key to his recovery.”

Hagedorn’s wife, Jennifer Carnahan, said the congressman “loves our country and serving in Congress more than anything in the world.” Carnahan is the chairwoman of Minnesota’s Republican Party.

His Democratic opponent, Dan Feehan, wished him a “full and speedy recovery” in a Feb. 19 Facebook post.

Hagedorn isn’t the only congressman currently suffering from stage 4 cancer; Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) announced in December 2019 that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

According to medical website Cancer.net, stage 4 means the “tumor has spread to any other organ, such as the lungs, bones, or the brain” or the “tumor has spread to areas beyond Gerota’s fascia and extends into the adrenal gland on the same side of the body as the tumor, possibly to lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body.”