Updated Dec 29, 2019

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer

John Lewis at the Nashville Public Library in November 2016. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is undergoing treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer, his office announced Sunday.

The big picture: The 79-year-old Lewis is a civil rights icon who has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is often referred to as "the conscience of the House." He helped lead the 1963 March on Washington and has served in the House since 1987. Lewis' decision to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry in September was seen as one of several significant turning points in the impeachment of President Trump.

What he's saying:

"I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now."
This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed.
While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.
So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.
To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime. I will return to Washington in coming days 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 with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon.
Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey."

Go deeper ... "It is not a day of joy": Lewis gives emotional speech during impeachment debate

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What they're saying: Obama leads messages of support for John Lewis

President Barack Obama presents Rep. John Lewis with the 2010 Medal of Freedom at the White House, Feb. 15, 2011. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama led messages of support for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) after it was announced Sunday that the civil rights icon is being treated for stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend."
— Barack Obama's tweet
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Cancer death rates drop by largest amount on record in U.S.

Photo: Harry Sieplinga/Getty Images

American Cancer Society researchers revealed in a new report published Wednesday that the U.S. cancer death rate dropped 2.2% between 2016 and 2017, the largest decline recorded in national cancer statistics dating back to 1930, AP reports.

The big picture via Axios' Bob Herman: Lung cancer drove most of the decline, as fewer people smoke cigarettes, and advanced lung cancer treatments become standard. Lung cancer accounts for nearly a quarter of all cancer deaths, according to the lead author of the report, Rebecca Siegel.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she is starting 2020 "cancer free"

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Berggruen Institute

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told CNN she is starting the year "cancer free," after suffering from a series of health complications in recent years.

The big picture: The 86-year-old is the longest-serving member of the court's liberal wing and has been treated for cancer twice in just over a year, including a treatment that forced her to miss oral arguments for the first time in her career.

Go deeper: Ginsburg says historians will view today's political climate as "an aberration"