January 18, 2019
BRUNSWICK, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) released the following statement announcing he has begun follow-up radiation treatments for residual prostate cancer.
“This week, I completed the first of an 8 week round of radiation to treat some small, localized, residual prostate cancer. This is a 5-day-a-week radiation treatment that will take about 20 minutes each morning until mid-March. What it means for my work in the Senate? Absolutely nothing. 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. What it means for weekly flights to home? Well, instead of taking the late flight out of Washington D.C. on Thursday nights, you’ll see me on the mid-morning Friday flights. 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.
“For many of you, cancer treatment is scary to hear, but in this case, it’s more like maintenance. I’ve been taking care of myself and following doctor’s orders. I’m not worried and you shouldn’t be either. In the meantime, I’ll keep you up to speed on my progress and I plan to be back to snapping sunsets in no time.”
In 2015, Senator King underwent prostate surgery that removed the entire prostate gland and some of the tissue around it. Since then, he has been cancer-free, and has been following doctors’ orders, routinely monitoring his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to check for signs of cancer recurrence. After his doctors detected a slight elevation in his PSA levels and conducted a number of tests to determine that the cancer was contained in the prostate area only, he opted to undertake a fairly common follow-up treatment which consists of daily, localized, radiation therapy. He began radiation on January 14, 2019, and has not experienced any side-effects of the cancer or the treatment.
Prostate cancer is among the most common cancer in American men. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Senator King’s doctors are confident this treatment will eliminate the disease.
“Once again, I’m one of the lucky ones. 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. For far too long, many in Washington have treated healthcare like it’s some sort of privilege that can be revoked from those who are too poor or sick. It’s not a privilege, it’s a prerequisite for all Americans seeking happy, healthy, productive lives. Ensuring everyone has access to affordable healthcare isn’t a radical idea, it’s a compassionate one. And as long as I represent Maine in the Senate, I will continue to do my part to make sure everyone with a story like mine has access to treatment like mine too.”
Senator King has worked to defend the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare protections for Maine people from efforts to undermine or repeal the law, voting against each attempt to repeal the ACA without a replacement. He has spoken on the floor of the Senate to illustrate the importance of the ACA’s provisions to expand healthcare to more Americans, including two speeches in January 2017 in which he shared the stories of Maine people who rely on the ACA to receive health coverage and highlighted how health insurance saved his own life as a young man. Senator King has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s attempts to “sabotage” the ACA; he has used his voice to remind Maine people to sign up for coverage during a period when the administration has reduced advertising, shortened enrollment deadlines, and cut support staff for potential customers, and is a cosponsor of a bill that seeks to authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to defend the ACA in court since the federal government will not. At the same time, Senator King has also supported important reforms to the ACA, and in August of 2017 laid out a roadmap of healthcare priorities, which would improve market stability and lower healthcare costs.
On a call with his staff today, Senator King announced he will complete radiation therapy at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. by mid-March.