Democrat Congresswoman Announces Cancer Diagnosis

( – Seventy-four-year-old Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) made an announcement over the weekend confirming her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. On Sunday, June 2nd, Lee made a statement that she is confident in the treatment plan presented by her doctors. She acknowledged that her journey through treatment “will not be easy” but said that she has faith that “God will strengthen me.”

Lee has been representing Texas’ 18th District in the House of Representatives since 1995. She is also a member of the House judiciary and serves on committees that address crime, and terrorism and are involved with homeland security. Lee has indicated no intention of stepping down and has, in fact, said she is committed to working with Congressional leadership to continue to serve the nation. Lee did acknowledge that she will “be occasionally absent from Congress” while she undergoes treatment but promised her office will continue to care for constituents.

The congresswoman is no stranger to battling cancer. She fought breast cancer in 2011 and announced in 2012 that she had won her battle and was cancer-free. Following her battle with breast cancer, she secured millions of dollars to fund breast cancer research. She said on Sunday that she hopes to “be back at full strength soon.”

Lee previously served as a judge before being elected to the Houston City Council in 1989. Lee ran for mayor of Houston last year. Parts of Houston are included in her district. She lost the election to John Whitmire, a Democrat who was serving as a state Senator at the time.

Lee did not give details about the severity of her disease or her treatment plan. According to The Mayo Clinic, pancreatic cancer begins in the pancreas, but it rarely causes symptoms in the early stages. The disease is usually detected after it has spread to other organs and causes symptoms that require investigation. According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the U.S.

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