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Ron Wyden Cancer Surgery Endangers Democrats' Lame-Duck Wish List

4 years ago
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Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, announced Thursday that has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.

But in a surprise to many of his colleagues, Wyden, 61, will undergo observation and surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital next week at precisely the time Democrats will be trying to lock down votes on the START nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Wyden's absence could complicate the fate of that measure, since Democrats have a razor-thin margin between victory and defeat and have already factored the senator's support into their vote counts.

"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," Wyden explained in a statement Thursday. "However, it now appears that I will be missing votes tomorrow and possibly next week while I prepare and undergo this procedure."

Later Thursday, Wyden's office told Talking Points Memo that the senator will be voting Saturday when the Senate decides the fate of a repeal of the military's "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy and the DREAM Act.

Wyden said his cancer was discovered during a routine examination in November and added that he expects to resume a full schedule in time for the start of the 112th Congress next month.
Filed Under: The Capitolist

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Senator Wyden does NOT have to rush into prostate cancer surgery at the age of 61. He should learn everything about this disease before he subjects himself to a very difficult surgery that results in serious side effects. Women talk about cancer. Men are silent and just follow the doctor's every word. Postpone the surgery and vote for START. You will be doing yourself a favor.

December 21 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good luck with the surgery senator, and take a few weeks off to be certain you've healed properly! Besides there are plenty of your anti-defense, pro capitulation colleagues left to vote to weaken our defenses!

December 17 2010 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Good grief! The man is a human being, first, a politician second. That your first thought upon hearing that the man has early-stage cancer and will seek immediate treatment was that it will hinder the passage of a Bill, Is a pathetic example of the exploitative nature of political journalism. Learning that you have cancer that is in the early stage and electing to act quickly to undergo treatment, gets a person's full attention. If you should face the same circumstances, please do not feel as if you must publish your column everyday. You are not as important as you may think.

December 17 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Maybe the bigger story is the lack of attention that prostate cancer gets. Hopefully the Senator will now help that effort. He should be okay, but he will have afteraffects which will require therapy, which the medical community has not given as much attention to as is warranted by the number of cases of this cancer every year. Its the third biggest cancer in numbers and it hardly gets any attention. The health care bill mentions breast cancer 40 times and never once mentions prostate cancer.

December 17 2010 at 11:19 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

A week or month or even six months delay in the surgery will have little if any effect on prognosis.

December 17 2010 at 11:07 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sfbarsky's comment

That depends on what the Gleason score is; a high Gleason score runs the risk of the cancer spreading beyond the prostate at any time, in which case treatment becomes much more difficult and chancey. Also, sometimes the biopsy will understate the Gleason score, which measures how much the cancer has spread over the prostate. They discover this when the prostate is removed and examined.

December 18 2010 at 1:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

too bad...I wonder if he has decent health insurance? I hope he has the health insurance I have...which is none because my husband's company went bankrupt thanks to congressional legislation.

December 17 2010 at 10:16 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Take care of your self senator, there will always be some controversy or other going on in Washington.

December 17 2010 at 9:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It is what it is. Political expediency aside, I think anyone facing such a challenge would take the time for themselves to do what is right for their health and their family. I think this guy is a failure as a Senmator, but on a human level, I hope he does well and beats the odds.

December 17 2010 at 9:00 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to btlrcty's comment

Why is he a failure...just because he is a democrat.. Obviously the people of Oregon like him as he was re-elected 7 times in the house and 3 times as U.S. Senator. He beat his republican challenger in 2004 by 64% to 31% and just won his seat again. So it appears he is well liked in his state.
Why don't you research his background before you comment on his being a failure.

December 17 2010 at 3:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Early-stage prostate cancer does not require immediate surgery. There's something else they're not telling us. Otherwise he could wait for the recess and have it then.

December 17 2010 at 8:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JohnR's comment

I am glad you are not on the Medicare panel deciding my case.

December 24 2010 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Johns Hopkins has the nation's highest cure rate for prostate surgery; Sen. Wyden will have a very good chance for a complete recovery.

December 16 2010 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

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