After receiving a diagnosis of “a very treatable blood cancer,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said on Tuesday that he has begun treatment.
“After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done. The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer,” Scalise said in a statement.
“I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months. I expect to work through this period and intend to return to Washington, continuing my work as Majority Leader and serving the people of Louisiana’s First Congressional District,” he said.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy, 57-year-old Scalise is the second-highest ranking Republican in the House. He is a significant member of the House GOP conference and has long been considered either McCarthy’s adversary or a possible successor.
The Republican from Louisiana is no stranger to hardships and health problems. He was critically injured in a gunshot that occurred in 2017 at an early-morning practice before a charity baseball tournament. He managed to survive the incident.
“I am definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” Scalise said following his return to Capitol Hill.
In response to the news, fellow MPs quickly expressed their sympathies and support.
McCarthy said of Scalise in a statement, “anyone who knows him knows he’s a faith-filled fighter who can overcome any obstacle that stands in his way. I spoke with him today and he’s in good spirits, as nothing—not a gunshot and certainly not cancer—will stop him from accomplishing what he sets his mind to.”
Elise Stefanik, chair of the House GOP Conference, stated in a tweet that there was “no stronger fighter.”
“There is no stronger fighter than @SteveScalise. Steve is as tough and kind as they come, and he has beaten so many unbeatable odds. The Legend from Louisiana is beloved by his colleagues and America and we know he will fight this next battle with that same resolve,” Stefanik posted.
“We are proud to stand by to support Steve and his family as they embrace strength and faith in this next challenge,” she added.
The diagnosis was described by the White House as “devastating news.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the Congressman and his family – clearly, he’s gone through a lot over the past couple of years,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during Tuesday’s White House press briefing. “That is very sad news, and clearly we are hoping for a speedy recovery for him.”
The malignancy known as multiple myeloma develops in plasma cells, which are white blood cells. Bone discomfort or breakage, backaches, recurrent infections, anemia, weight loss, and weariness are only a few symptoms. Imaging, bone marrow, blood, and urine tests are used to diagnose it. While certain myeloma types require active therapy, others just need watchful monitoring.
Although multiple myeloma is not thought to be curable, people can live a long time with treatment. While certain treatments may be effective in the beginning, many patients cease responding or experience cancer progression, necessitating the use of a new medication.