Frank Lautenberg Has Cancer

Frank Lautenberg has stomach cancer, which his doctors tell him is treatable which he expects “a full and complete recovery.”

frank-lautenberg-cancerU.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s 86-year-old senior senator, was diagnosed with treatable cancer in the stomach in the last 24 hours and will begin chemotherapy today.

The Democrat still plans to finish out his current term — his fifth in the Senate — and seek re-election in 2014.

“This doesn’t change any of that,” Lautenberg’s chief aide, Dan Katz, said of the senator’s political plans. “After he receives his treatment, back to normal.”

Moments ago, Lautenberg’s office issued a statement from the senator’s oncologist, James F. Holland, saying:

“We expect a full and complete recovery for Senator Lautenberg. The senator will be treated with chemotherapy administered approximately every three weeks. We anticipate that he will receive between six and eight treatments, and in between treatments, the senator is expected to be back at work in the Senate.”

Lautenberg took ill Monday while at home in Cliffside Park. He fell down and phoned his doctor and an ambulance. The senator directed the ambulance to transport him to Manhattan for treatment at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he has been hospitalized ever since. Lautenberg never lost consciousness, his aides said.

Doctors quickly determined that Lautenberg had fallen due to blood loss from a bleeding ulcer. The bleeding was stopped during an endoscopy. Additional pathology tests revealed the ulcer was caused by a b-cell lymphoma of the stomach.

One never wants to hear the “C-word” from one’s doctor, let alone as an 86-year-old.  But it’s good news that he’s seeing top doctors and that they expect his recovery.

You’d think that, at 86, he’d call it quits rather than seeking to get re-elected at the age of 90.  Especially since he’d already retired once — a decade ago!  He was recruited to run again in the great Torrecelli switcheroo of 2002 and has been there ever since.

But, hey, it’s ultimately his call and that of the voters of New Jersey.

Timeline corrected

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brian J. says:

    If he left Congress, he would be subject to the health control program for which he voted should it become law.

    As a 90-year-old with a history of cancer, he couldn’t do that.

  2. Dantheman says:

    “If he left Congress, he would be subject to the health control program for which he voted should it become law.”

    Lautenberg’s been around for a while, but not long enough to have voted for Medicare.

    “As a 90-year-old with a history of cancer, he couldn’t do that.”

    Even if he were forced to purchase private medical insurance after he left office instead of going on Medicare, the plan he voted in favor of would make it easier, not harder, for a cancer survivor to get coverage.

    Two swings and two misses.

  3. Idiot says:

    Maybe one of the reasons he doesn’t drop out is because Chris Christie would appoint his successor to finish out his term? Without knowing the succession laws in NJ, this item isn’t complete.

    http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=105883.0

    The above link seems to make it clear that under present law that Christie would pick Lautenberg’s replacement. That may be affecting Lautenberg’s decision making process.

  4. Trumwill says:

    He was recruited to run again in the great Torrecelli switcheroo and promptly lost. But he got his old seat back in 2006 after Jon Corzine got elected governor.

    A minor point, but this is not correct. He won that one. Corzine was replaced by Robert Menendez.

  5. James Joyner says:

    Correct you are. I took a quick glance at Wikipedia to refresh my memory but was confusing this with the recruitment of Walter Mondale after Paul Wellstone’s plane crash.