Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a first-term Minnesota Republican, announced he has had stage 4 kidney cancer since February 2019 and plans to continue working in Congress.
Hagedorn revealed the diagnosis Wednesday and said the disease had been detected during a routine physical exam before he exhibited any symptoms.
For most cancers, stages are ranked as numbers 1 through 4. Stage 4 is the highest, meaning the cancer is more advanced, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Exactly two months after marrying my wife, Jennifer, and just six weeks into my job as the First District's Congressman, I was given unexpected and rather shocking news," Hagedorn said in a statement. "Just like millions of other Americans, I was told by my doctor: you have cancer. After prayers and long talks with those closest to me, I was determined to fight it like hell."
He has received treatment, including immunotherapy, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment designed to help one’s immune system mitigate the disease. A biological therapy, it uses substances from living organisms to treat cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
"I am also grateful for the regimen of immunotherapy, recently approved by the FDA as a treatment for kidney cancer. Guided by the Good Lord’s healing hands, the treatments are helping my body’s immune system identify and kill the cancer cells,” Hagedorn said.
In a video posted on his official website, Hagedorn said, “I’m happy to report that I’m feeling great. I’ve continued to do my job in Congress unimpeded and have not missed even a single vote due to treatment.”
Hagedorn’s doctor, cancer specialist Lance Pagliaro, said in a statement that the congressman “has responded well to immunotherapy, which has been key to his recovery. He is doing well.”