Kerry to Have Prostate Surgery Wednesday; Procedure Will Not Hamper Campaign

Posted February 11, 2003 at 3:54pm

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will undergo prostate surgery tomorrow at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Doctors found cancer when the presidential hopeful went for a routine examination in December, his campaign said in a statement.

Within days, he should be able to determine whether the procedure was successful, the statement continued.

“Everybody is fully expecting him to be back in the office doing some work as soon as possible and moving full-speed ahead on the campaign as quickly as possible,” the campaign added.

“I have every reason to believe as soon as he is rested and healed, Senator Kerry will be back at work and putting this matter completely behind him,” Patrick Walsh, Kerry’s doctor, said in a statement. “Senator Kerry is strong and fit, and in no time he will be able to return to the rigorous lifestyle he enjoys, with no impact on his long-term health.”

Walsh is the urologist in chief at the hospital’s James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute.

Physicians discovered “an early stage, localized cancer of the prostate,” according to the statement. Walsh’s team will remove Kerry’s prostate Wednesday.

The Senator chose to go public in advance because he wanted to be open with the public, according to his campaign. He is making a summary of his medical records available as well.

Kerry is not the first Democrat involved in the 2004 presidential race to face surgery. Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.), who is contemplating a bid of his own, recently delayed an announcement while undergoing a heart procedure. He is now recuperating from his operation.

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer found in men in this country, the campaign stated, quoting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 189,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 2002.

There is a high survival rate if detected early. Fewer than 10 percent of men with prostate cancer die within five years of the diagnosis.