Rep. Carolyn McCarthy: I have lung cancer

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy says she will be treated

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy says she will be treated for lung cancer. (2011) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

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WASHINGTON - Longtime Rep. Carolyn McCarthy said Monday she will undergo medical care for a treatable form of lung cancer that her doctor discovered during her recent annual health physical.

McCarthy, 69, a Democrat from Mineola who is in her ninth term, said she will miss some time from her job but expects to return to Washington after completing a treatment plan that will begin soon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

"My recent annual health physical revealed that I, like so many millions of Americans, have a treatable form of cancer," McCarthy said in a statement. "Several diagnostic tests have led to a diagnosis of lung cancer."

McCarthy said her physician "has told me that I begin my treatment in good physical health and that he looks forward to my return to work after I recover."

McCarthy said her staff in Washington and in her district on Long Island will continue to operate in her absence.

"There will be some tough days ahead and I will have to miss activities in Washington during my treatment in New York, but I will continue to be a strong advocate for the 4th Congressional District," McCarthy said.

She asked for privacy for herself and her family during her treatment. "I am a fighter, as many people know, and I am committed to beating this latest challenge in my life," she said.

McCarthy, a licensed practical nurse, has had health difficulties previously during her more than 16 years in Congress. In 2008, she began taking medication for sharp back pain that a year later required surgery, a process that slowed her down for a while.

But lately she has been energetically seeking to pass the kind of gun-control legislation that first led her to run in 1996.

McCarthy entered politics after gunman Colin Ferguson fatally shot her husband and critically wounded her son during the Long Island Rail Road massacre in 1993.

On Saturday, McCarthy delivered the commencement address at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences at the United Nations, applauding young doctors for going into medicine at a time when they are needed the most with the beginning of the Affordable Care Act."My thoughts and prayers are with her, and we're hoping for a full and complete recovery," Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said.

"She's been a great member of Congress," he said. "We have every expectation that she will fight through this battle and continue doing her job."

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