LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada MP Mark Amodei has had three surgeries and one outpatient procedure for cancerous tumors on his kidneys and a cancerous site in his esophagus in the past 10 months, the Republican Congressman announced on Friday.
Amodei told The Associated Press that he didn’t reveal the cancer when he first found out about it or its surgery before the November elections last September because he didn’t want it to be used against him in his re-election campaign.
The 63-year-old Republican said that if anyone had asked him back then, he would have answered truthfully about his condition and said about his hospital stays, “I didn’t check in under an alias or anything.”
But, he said, “There’s no way I’m going to go out there and do it voluntarily in an election cycle.”
Amodei, who has represented Reno and northern Nevada in the House of Representatives since 2011, said he didn’t want it to become a campaign issue. He cited one of his past re-election campaigns in which his opponent criticized him for a lack of votes, which Amodei said was largely due to retinal surgery and his mother’s death.
When asked if voters deserved to have this information about his diagnosis and treatment before the election, Amodei said it was “not a major operation because it was one night inside, one night outside,” he was two days later back to work and the operation was successful.
He also said he suspected that if he disclosed the cancer before the election, he would be accused of using it to his advantage.
“You’re damned if you do or damned if you don’t,” he said.
The congressman first revealed some details of his cancer diagnosis in an interview published Friday with the Nevada Independent.
Fred Lokken, a professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, said there was no standard as to whether or when such practices should be disclosed and it was up to voters to decide whether that matters.
“Different voters have different value systems. I think most voters would probably prefer to know, ”he said.
Loyola Law School professor Jessica A. Levinson, whose work includes an emphasis on politics and ethics, said this was a gray area and contrary to the financial interests of a member of the House of Representatives, medical information was not expected to be disclosed.
“It strikes me that medical information varies in that we don’t wonder if he will vote for or against a tax law based on his medical diagnosis, while we might have those concerns when it comes to financial conflict,” she said.
Amodei said one tumor was found in his left kidney and another in his right kidney in September. He said he had surgery and a one-day stay in a Washington hospital for his left kidney in September. He said he had a two-day hospital stay in June for minimally invasive surgery to remove the tumor on his right kidney.
Amodei said both surgeries completely removed the cancer from his kidneys and he didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation treatment. But he said he had some bleeding problems after the second operation and needed a third operation which he said would take care of it.
In addition, Amodei said a doctor in Reno found a cancer site in his esophagus. Amodei said he had Barrett’s esophagus, a condition caused by acid reflux that changes the lining of the esophagus and can put people at risk of cancer.
Amodei said the spot in his esophagus was discovered very early and an outpatient procedure cut out the cancerous area.
The congressman said he would need regular checkups to make sure things were going well, but said he was mostly feeling back to normal despite some fatigue.
“I am a very lucky guy. I am grateful if this is my cancer stuff, thank you Jesus, “he said.
Amodei said he plans to make a decision in October on whether to run for re-election next year or for governor of Nevada.
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