House Majority Leader Steve Scalise diagnosed with blood cancer

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(WASHINGTON) -- House Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced Tuesday he has been diagnosed with a "very treatable blood cancer" and has started treatment.

"After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done," the Louisiana Republican said in a statement. "The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer."

Scalise said the treatment will continue for the next several months, and he expects to return to Washington and continue working as the No. 2 Republican in the House.

"I am incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable," Scalise said. "I am thankful for my excellent medical team, and with the help of God, support of my family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges."

Congress is currently in August recess. House members are due to return to Capitol Hill on Sept. 12.

Colleagues on both sides of the aisle offered well wishes for Scalise after the announcement.

"Steve is as tough and kind as they come, and he has beaten so many unbeatable odds," House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik wrote on social media. "The Legend from Louisiana is beloved by his colleagues and America and we know he will fight this next battle with that same resolve."

Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer, in response to Scalise, said, "I know your courage and resilience will lead you through this battle with strength, and I will be here to support you throughout your recovery."

Multiple myeloma, a rare cancer of plasma cells, is the second most common type of blood cancer in high-income countries, according to research published in the medical journal, The Lancet. Approximately 35,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. It is usually seen in older age groups, or those above 45, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scalise has served Louisiana's 1st Congressional District since 2008 and was elected majority leader after Republicans regained majority control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.

The congressman previously recovered from life-threatening injuries after a gunman opened fire at a Congressional Baseball Game practice in 2017.

Scalise was struck in the hip and went through a series of surgeries to recover.

"I think about just how lucky we all are, lucky to be alive," Scalise told Fox News during this year's Congressional Baseball Game.

-ABC News' Ankita Aggarwal contributed to this report.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at 12:20PM by Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News Permalink