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Rep. Daniel Kildee announces cancer diagnosis

Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.) speaks during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing in Washington on March 10. (Al Drago/Bloomberg)
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A previous version of this article misidentified Kildee as chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus. He no longer serves in that role in the 118th Congress but remains part of the House Democratic leadership team as co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. This article has been corrected.

Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.) announced Friday that he had been diagnosed with a “serious but curable” cancer that will result in his absence from Congress for at least several weeks.

“A few weeks ago, after consulting with my doctors, I scheduled what I thought was a preventive scan for a swollen lymph node,” Kildee said in a video posted to his social media accounts. “The results, it turns out, were more significant. After additional testing, I’ve been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a serious but curable form of cancer.”

Kildee, 64, said doctors had detected a small tumor in one of his tonsils, and that he would undergo surgery in a few weeks to remove it. His doctors told him it would take an additional few weeks after the surgery to recover, he added.

“Thankfully, I caught it very early,” Kildee said. “It’s never easy to hear the words you have cancer. But I know that so many other families have gone through a cancer diagnosis.”

Kildee said his congressional office would remain open throughout his absence.

Kildee was first elected to Congress in 2012, and represents what is now Michigan’s 8th District, which includes the cities of Flint and Frankenmuth. As co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, he is a member of the House Democratic leadership team, and also serves on the Ways and Means and Budget committees.

Kildee’s diagnosis comes a month after another House Democrat, Rep. Joaquin Castro (Tex.), announced that he would be absent for several weeks to recover after undergoing surgery to remove tumors in his gastrointestinal tract.

“After 10 days in the hospital in Houston I got home to San Antonio to recover,” Castro tweeted this week. “Thank you to everyone — friends, strangers and even some folks who can’t stand my politics — who’ve reached out.”