Sen. Wyden's prostate cancer surgery set for Monday

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during the markup of the committee's version of a health care reform bill. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

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by Michael Rollins and Tim Fought, AP Staff

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Posted on December 16, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 17 at 1:52 PM

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden announced Thursday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, caught in the early stages.

“After my annual physical in late November, I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer.  After reviewing all the options with multiple physicians, I decided to take a proactive approach and have surgery, which will be performed December 20 at Johns Hopkins Hospital by Dr. Alan Partin.

 “Thanks to routine screening, this was diagnosed very early and I expect a full and speedy recovery.

“I scheduled the surgery for the Monday before Christmas anticipating that the Senate would have recessed by that time and that there would be no disruption to my work in Oregon or Washington.

  However, it now appears that I will be missing votes tomorrow and possibly next week while I prepare and undergo this procedure.   I expect to be back to work full-time when the Senate reconvenes in January.

 “If anything is taken away from my experience, I hope it is the importance of getting routine physicals.  One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes.  Early detection is critical to catching this disease when treatment is most effective.”

On the congressional agenda now are a government appropriations bill, a new arms treaty with Russia and legislation to allow openly gay servicemembers to remain in the military.

Regan Lachapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said time is too short for the Senate to adjust its schedule to make sure Wyden is on the floor for critical votes, and it's not clear that his votes would be make-or-break for measures such as the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military or the arms treaty.

Wyden would vote for both measures, said spokesman Tom Caiazza.

Wyden has been a durable figure in Oregon politics, first as an advocate for the elderly in the 1970s and then as a member of Congress for three decades. His legislative interests range from health care and financial reform to the environment and jobs. Despite solid liberal credentials, he also has a reputation for working across party and interest lines.

Last month, he was re-elected handily to the Senate seat he's held since 1996. Before that, he served eight terms in the House, beginning in 1980.

Wyden said one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and early detection through routine physicals "is critical to catching this disease when treatment is most effective." He said he expected to make "a full and speedy recovery."

He could be out of the hospital as soon as Tuesday, and "after that we're going to play it by ear," Hoelzer said.

Wyden released a statement saying he expects to be back at work full-time when the Senate reconvenes in January.

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