Carolyn McCarthy has lung cancer

(Official Photo)
(Official Photo)

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), perhaps best known as an outspoken supporter of stricter gun laws, announced Monday that she is seeking treatment for a "treatable form" of lung cancer.

In a statement, the 69-year-old congresswoman said that she will miss some work in Washington but is not planning to step down or take extended leave.

"There will be some tough days ahead and I will have to miss activities in Washington during my treatment in New York, but I will continue to be a strong advocate for the 4th Congressional District," she said. Her staff will handle her constituents' needs in her absence.

“I am a fighter, as many people know, and I am committed to beating this latest challenge in my life," she added. "I’m grateful for the support and love of my family, friends, colleagues and staff. I look forward to a successful treatment and returning to continue the mission that I've started as a Member of Congress.”

McCarthy's husband was killed and her son injured in a 1993 shooting on the Long Island Rail Road, a tragedy that inspired her to become an advocate for gun control measures. A former Republican, she ran for Congress and won her seat as a Democrat in 1996 after her representative voted for the repeal of an assault weapon ban for which she had lobbied intensely. Along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) she introduced a new assault weapons ban in this Congress, legislation that died in the Senate.

Her full statement:

“My recent annual health physical revealed that I, like so many millions of Americans, have a treatable form of cancer.

“Several diagnostic tests have led to a diagnosis of lung cancer.  A treatment plan will begin soon and I look forward to its successful completion.

“My doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where I’ll receive my treatment, has told me that I begin my treatment in good physical health and that he looks forward to my return to work after I recover.  My family and I will appreciate privacy while I undergo my treatment.

“There will be some tough days ahead and I will have to miss activities in Washington during my treatment in New York, but I will continue to be a strong advocate for the 4th Congressional District -- and I remain committed to improving Long Island’s schools, improving public health and safety, improving our economy, and protecting our seniors and veterans.  My capable and longtime staff will continue to support the needs of my constituents.

“I am a fighter, as many people know, and I am committed to beating this latest challenge in my life.  I’m grateful for the support and love of my family, friends, colleagues, and staff.  I look forward to a successful treatment and returning to continue the mission that I've started as a Member of Congress.”

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · June 3, 2013