Heard on the Hill

Hirono Diagnosed With Kidney Cancer

Hawaii Democrat will undergo treatment at D.C. hospital

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono plans to work while in recovery for kidney cancer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono said Tuesday she has been diagnosed with kidney cancer and is preparing to undergo treatment locally.

The Hawaii Democrat will have surgery at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital on an unspecified date, work during her recovery and return to the Senate “as soon as possible,” the senator said in a statement. She outlined that her kidney cancer is “also present in my seventh rib.”

Hirono was first elected to the Senate in 2012, and before that served in the House for six years. She got her start in politics in the Hawaii House and as the state’s lieutenant governor. She was born in Fukushima, Japan — the Senate’s sole immigrant.

Hirono, 69, will have surgery to remove her right kidney and an outpatient procedure called Cyberknife to “eradicate the lesion” on her rib.

“At the conclusion of this treatment, there will be no identifiable disease left untreated,” the senator said. “My doctor expects I will make a full recovery from these treatments.”

The cancer was discovered in a chest x-ray while Hirono was having a routine pre-operative physical for eye surgery.

“I face this fight with the same determination I’ve fought for the people of Hawaii. And I never quit, especially when things get tough,” Hirono said in her statement.

Senators routinely disclose treatment information to their constituents and the media when diagnosed with an illness. For example, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in Feb. 2016 that she would receive treatment for breast cancer for three weeks in St. Louis.

Hirono’s fellow senators took to Twitter to share their well wishes for their colleague after the announcement.

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