Dayton to begin cancer treatment soon

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton likely won't be able to wait until after the legislative session to begin his treatment for prostate cancer, he said Friday.

ST. PAUL - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton likely won’t be able to wait until after the legislative session to begin his treatment for prostate cancer, he said Friday.

Dayton visited doctors at the Mayo Clinic Wednesday and Thursday and has to decide whether to treat his cancer via surgery or radiation treatment. The cancer hasn’t spread beyond the prostate, so doctors aren’t recommending chemotherapy.

Both options, Dayton said, have to “start in very short order.”

“I said, ‘Does it have to be done in the next day so the cancer doesn’t spread?’ Well, no,” Dayton said Friday. “But on the other hand, it can’t be delayed by a couple of months. I want to get started as soon as possible and maximize my chances for success.”

The 2017 legislative session runs until late May.


Dayton said he will pick a treatment as soon as this weekend, and will tell the public which option he chooses.

The 70-year-old governor said he doesn’t expect his treatment to keep him from his duties for very long.

“I expect to be able to very quickly, within a matter of a couple hours, resume my normal duties and responsibilities,” Dayton said. “I may cut back on public appearances for a brief period of time, but I will be in charge of state government and responsible to the people of Minnesota for every minute that I’m governor.”

The governor, who has had spinal and hip surgeries before during his term, has been known to work on governmental business from his hospital bed. He came back to the Capitol still cane-hobbled during his recovery from one surgery.

Last year, he told the Pioneer Press that after his previous Mayo Clinic visits, he stopped taking any prescription pain killers when he left the hospital “so I’m mentally sharp.”

Because his cancer was caught relatively early, doctors have told Dayton he has a very good chance of beating the cancer. “Curing” prostate cancer means it’s in remission for at least five years.

“That gets me through my two remaining years serving the people of Minnesota, and hopefully beyond to see my grandkids grow up and the like,” Dayton said.

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