Minnesota US Rep. Jim Hagedorn announces he has cancer

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BLUE EARTH, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota freshman Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn said Wednesday he is being treated for cancer but still plans to run for re-election this year.

Hagedorn, 57, released a statement saying he was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer on Feb. 15, 2019, and has received care and immunotherapy at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, this past year.

Exactly two months after marrying his wife, Minnesota GOP chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, and just six weeks into his job as Minnesota's 1st District congressman, Hagedorn said he was given the “unexpected and rather shocking news. 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.”

Hagedorn said he feels “great” and has not missed a single vote due to illness.

"This disease has not and will not deter me. I will keep fighting cancer and fighting for America and the people of southern Minnesota,” he said.

Hagedorn said his cancer was detected accidentally, and before he exhibited any symptoms, during a routine physical examination.

“I am fortunate to be a patient of the Mayo Clinic, the preeminent institution of medicine in the world. My physicians, nurses and technicians are incredibly caring and competent people. I am also grateful for the regimen of immunotherapy, recently approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as a treatment for kidney cancer," Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn narrowly beat Democrat Dan Feehan in 2018 for the seat that Democrat Tim Walz gave up for his successful run for Minnesota governor. Feehan has said he plans to seek a rematch with Hagedorn this year.

“I’ve been able to do my job, make hundreds of stops across the First District, hold 18 town hall meetings, and make 39 round trips to and from Washington, D.C. to perform my legislative duties. I am a candidate for reelection in 2020,” Hagedorn said.

In a statement, Hagedorn's physician, Dr. Lance C. Pagliaro, oncology specialist at Mayo Clinic, said the congressman "has responded well to immunotherapy, which has been key to his recovery. He is doing well.”

Hagedorn aligned himself tightly with President Donald Trump during his campaign and has loyally stood by the president since then. Hagedorn, whose father, Tom Hagedorn, once represented some of the same territory in Congress, formerly worked as aide to GOP Rep. Arlan Stangeland and in congressional liaison positions at the Treasury Department. He won the seat in 2018 on his fourth try in a district that Trump carried by 15 points in 2016.

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