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Leaders react to Sheila Jackson Lee’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Texas’ 18th congressional district, announced Sunday night that she is undergoing treatment for cancer.

HOUSTON — Houston-area leaders are sharing their thoughts and prayers with U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee after the U.S. representative announced she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Texas’ 18th congressional district, announced Sunday night that she is undergoing treatment for cancer.

“I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease. The road ahead will not be easy, but I am confident that God will strengthen me,” Jackson Lee said in a statement.

Fellow U.S. Rep. Al Green (TX-9) is among the many people who have voiced their support for Jackson Lee.

“I think the fight in her will help her overcome this,” he said. “I’m beyond hopeful. I think he’s going to come back. I think he’s going to be in the fight. I think he’s going to be there for a voice to be heard.”

Houston Mayor John Whitmire also released a statement that said in part, “Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo shared a statement in support of Jackson Lee, saying in part “I support her in getting the space she needs and I wish her and her family all the love and strength during her recovery.”

Former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sent KHOU 11 News a statement:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Congresswoman and her family. I know she will fight this cancer diagnosis with fierce determination and God’s amazing grace. In true Sheila Jackson Lee fashion, she will get the treatment she needs while fighting and serving the people of the 18th Congressional District. She may miss a few votes and we may see less of her, but I know that when her district and nation need her, she will be there.

Doctors at Baylor College of Medicine said more than 60,000 people in the US are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year.

“It is now the third leading cause of death from cancer. So it is an aggressive type of cancer, but there are also many treatments,” said Dr. Shalini Makawita.

Jackson Lee, who is now 74, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and announced that she was cancer-free in 2012.

Doctors said patients who are diagnosed with one form of cancer may be susceptible to other types of cancer later in life.

“There are certain genetic conditions that people can have that can predispose them to a second type of cancer in the future,” Dr Makawita said.

A late diagnosis requires treatments such as chemotherapy, but early detection leads to the best chance of recovery, according to experts.

“The only way to really cure pancreatic cancer at the moment is if someone can get to surgery and surgically remove it,” Dr Makawita said.

In her statement, Jackson Lee said serving as a representative of Texas’ 18th congressional district has been one of her “greatest honors.”

“Your hopes and aspirations inspire my efforts on behalf of our community every day,” she said.

The U.S. representative said that as she undergoes treatment, she will occasionally be absent from Congress, but her office will continue to provide “vital services to constituents.”

Jackson Lee said she is committed to working with congressional leadership, including Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the Speaker of the House, to continue serving the nation and being present for votes on legislation.

“By the grace of God, I will return to power soon,” she said in the statement. “Please keep me and my family in your prayers as you always have. Know that you will remain in mine. As always, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

About pancreatic cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancer cases and 7% of all cancer deaths. One in 56 men are at risk, while one in 60 women.

It is estimated that approximately 67,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2024.

Read Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s full statement:

“My adult life has been defined by my faith in God, my love for humanity and my commitment to public service. As a member of Congress, I have been honored to be one of the leaders in the fight for justice and equality for all; especially the disadvantaged and dispossessed. Today my fight is more personal, but I will approach it with the same faith and courage.

“The doctors confirmed my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. They are currently undergoing treatment to fight this disease that affects tens of thousands of Americans each year.

“I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease. The road ahead will not be easy, but I have faith that God will strengthen me.

“To the voters of the 18th Congressional District: Serving as your representative in Congress for 30 years is one of my greatest honors. Your hopes and aspirations inspire my efforts on behalf of our community every day. As I pursue my treatments, I will likely be absent from Congress occasionally, but rest assured that my office will continue to provide you with the essential services you deserve and expect.

“I am committed to working with Congressional leadership, including Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the Speaker of the House, to serve this nation and be present for votes on legislation that is critical to the prosperity and security of the American people. By the grace of God, I will soon be back to full strength.

“Please keep me and my family in your prayers as you always have. Know that you will remain in mine. As always, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

About pancreatic cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancer cases and 7% of all cancer deaths. One in 56 men are at risk, while one in 60 women.

It is estimated that approximately 67,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2024.

Read Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s full statement:

“My adult life has been defined by my faith in God, my love for humanity and my commitment to public service. As a member of Congress, I have been honored to be one of the leaders in the fight for justice and equality for all; especially the disadvantaged and dispossessed. Today my fight is more personal, but I will approach it with the same faith and courage.

“The doctors confirmed my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. They are currently undergoing treatment to fight this disease that affects tens of thousands of Americans each year.

“I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease. The road ahead will not be easy, but I have faith that God will strengthen me.

“To the voters of the 18th Congressional District: Serving as your representative in Congress for 30 years is one of my greatest honors. Your hopes and aspirations inspire my efforts on behalf of our community every day. As I pursue my treatments, I will likely be absent from Congress occasionally, but rest assured that my office will continue to provide you with the essential services you deserve and expect.

“I am committed to working with Congressional leadership, including Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the Speaker of the House, to serve this nation and be present for votes on legislation that is critical to the prosperity and security of the American people. By the grace of God, I will soon be back to full strength.

“Please keep me and my family in your prayers as you always have. Know that you will remain in mine. As always, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

Jackson Lee has been a member of the US House since 1995. In March, she defeated Amanda Edwards in the Democratic primary.

The Houston lawmaker serves on three congressional committees. She is a senior member of the House Judiciary, Homeland Security and Budget Committee, according to her online biography.

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