Civil Rights icon and Georgia U.S. Rep. John Lewis announced in an email to his constituents that he will undergo treatment for stage four pancreatic cancer.
Lewis, 79, said the cancer was discovered during a routine medical appointment and subsequent tests. Representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Atlanta, Lewis is currently serving his 17th term.
Below is the text of the letter he sent out this evening:
Dear Friends,
I write to share some personal news with you.
As you know, I have been in some kind of fight – whether it be for freedom, equality, or basic human rights – for nearly my entire life.  However, I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.
During a routine medical visit and after subsequent tests, doctors discovered stage four Pancreatic Cancer.  This diagnosis has been reconfirmed. 
While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases.   Treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and I have a fighting chance. 
So, I have decided to do what I know to do and what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community.  I believe that we still have bridges to cross. 
Serving as your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime.  In the coming days, I will return to Washington, D.C. to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks.  I may miss a few votes during this period, but I will be back on the front lines soon. 
I wish you and your loved ones a restful holiday, and I ask that you keep me in your thoughts as I begin this journey.