Gov. Tom Wolf says he has 'treatable' prostate cancer
February 24, 2016 3:07 PM
Marc Levy/Associated Press
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and his wife, Frances, address reporters Wednesday while discussing Mr. Wolf's cancer diagnosis in his Harrisburg office.
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said today that he has prostate cancer but that it is treatable and will not interfere with his work as governor.
Mr. Wolf, 67, said the cancer was found early through a routine check-up and that he will begin treatment in the next few weeks.
The governor emphasized that he will not be incapacitated by the cancer or treatment. And he used the announcement to encourage others to schedule regular doctor’s visits.
“Whatever the problem is, regular medical check-ups really do matter,” he said.
Mr. Wolf spoke with reporters while seated with his wife, Frances, in the reception room of his Capitol offices. They emphasized the positive prognosis.
“We don’t need to be sad about this,” Mrs. Wolf said. “There’s every reason to believe and to know that this will be dealt with quite efficiently.”
At one point, Mr. Wolf provoked laughter when he said: “I’m not a doctor -- well, I am a Ph.D.”
One in six men will develop prostate cancer, said Dr. R. Scott Owens of Urology of Central PA, who is not involved in Mr. Wolf’s care. He said that men should get an initial test, which can be a blood test or a prostate exam, early on, and then follow-up tests after that. Men with a family history of prostate cancer and African-American men should get an initial test at 40, and other men between 45 and 50, he said.
Depending on the patient and the cancer, treatment options can include monitoring, surgery, radiation therapy or cryotherapy, Dr. Owens said. Mr. Wolf said he would keep the details of his treatment plan between himself and his doctor, but he described it as routine. He said he will receive treatment in the York area, where he lives.
“I would expect the governor to have a full recovery,” Dr. Owens said. “I would expect his cancer will be eradicated.”
In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, prostate cancer was the most common cancer diagnosis and the second-most common cause of cancer death among Pennsylvania men, according to the state Department of Health.
Numerous Pennsylvania public officials wished the governor well in statements and Twitter posts. In a statement, state Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason wished the Democratic governor a quick recovery.
“Our party may battle on policy issues with Governor Tom Wolf, but we join him in his battle against prostate cancer,” Mr. Gleason said.
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