Sen. Angus King said Friday that he has started follow-up radiation treatments for what he called “small, localized, residual prostate cancer.”
King began the first round of eight weeks of radiation treatment on Monday. He will receive treatments for about 20 minutes each morning, five days a week, until mid-March, according to a statement from King’s office.
“What it means for my work in the Senate? Absolutely nothing,” King said. “I have been assured by my doctors, as recently as this morning, that I will remain healthy through my current Senate term and beyond. I don’t expect to miss a single vote, hearing or constituent meeting.”
In 2015, King underwent prostate surgery that removed the prostate gland entirely as well as some surrounding tissue. He had been cancer-free ever since and was routinely monitoring his prostate-specific antigens, per his doctors’ orders, to check for signs of the cancer coming back, according to a statement his office released Friday afternoon.
According to King’s office, doctors recently detected elevated prostate-specific antigen levels and determined the cancer was limited to the prostate area. His office described the radiation as “a fairly common follow-up treatment.”
Although King said cancer treatment can be a scary thing to hear, he considers it to be more like maintenance. He said he has not experienced any side effects from the cancer or treatment so far. “I’m not worried and you shouldn’t be either,” said King, who was elected to a second Senate term in November.
King said it will change his weekly flights back home to Maine to accommodate his appointments at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C.
“Where I’m afraid things are going to really suffer? My Instagram feed. Those who follow me on Instagram are about to see a lot more ‘sunrise over the Capitol’ posts,” he said.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in American men. Approximately one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his life. Every year, there are about 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S. and 32,000 prostate cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Once again, I’m one of the lucky ones,” King said. “If it weren’t for insurance — through the ACA — and a great team of doctors, I’m not so sure I’d have this story to tell. For so many Maine people, even regular checkups can be a hardship. It shouldn’t have to be that way.”