Roy Blunt diagnosed with prostate cancer

WASHINGTON -- House Majority Whip Roy Blunt has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo surgery to have his prostate removed next month, he said Wednesday.

The 53-year-old Blunt, R-Mo., said a malignancy was found during a routine screening and that doctors diagnosed prostate cancer in the early stages.

Doctors consider the cancer to be unrelated to a cancerous tumor that prompted the removal of Blunt's left kidney last year.

"I have been extremely lucky to have excellent doctors in Springfield and Washington who have encouraged me to have regular checkups and screenings," Blunt said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"Both cancers were caught early and appear to have been easily treatable because of early detection," he said. "I can't stress enough how important regular and routine checkups are. It in all likelihood saved my life and could save yours."

His surgery next month will be at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Another Missouri congressman, GOP Rep. Todd Akin, 56, had a similar diagnosis and surgery in April 2001.

Akin's cancer was also found in the early stages during a routine checkup.

"He's doing very well," Akin spokesman Steve Taylor said Wednesday.

Along with skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in American men.

It strikes 220,000 U.S. men annually and kills almost 29,000, meaning it strikes one man in six and kills one man in 32.

According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for prostate cancer is dropping, and the disease is being detected earlier.

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