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Steve Scalise says he has been diagnosed with a 'very treatable blood cancer'

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana speaks at a House Republican Conference news conference in Washington on May 23.
Patrick Semansky
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana speaks at a House Republican Conference news conference in Washington on May 23.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said he's been diagnosed with a "very treatable blood cancer" for which he has begun treatment.

Scalise said he had blood work done after "a few days of not feeling like myself this past week."

"The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer," he said on X, the former Twitter. "I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months."

Scalise said he expects to return to Washington to continue work as majority leader while he undergoes treatment.

A highly popular politician in Louisiana, Scalise, 57, represents the state's 1st Congressional District. He was elected in 2008 in a special election to replace Bobby Jindal, who had just been elected governor.

The former systems engineer got his start in politics at Louisiana State University, where he was twice elected speaker of LSU's Student Government Association. He served as a member of Louisiana's state Legislature for 12 years before being elected to the U.S. House.

The turning point in his career was a 2012 win that made him chairman of the influential Republican Study Group. He beat Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., who had been unanimously recommended by the group's founders prior to the election.

Scalise had a close call in June 2017 when he was shot by a gunman in Alexandria, Va., as the then-House majority whip was playing second base, his normal position on the congressional baseball team. The gunman in that incident died. That incident led to a long road to recovery: Scalise underwent multiple surgeries and blood transfusions after the bullet that struck his left hip traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding.

Scalise, the House's second-highest ranking Republican, is married and has two children.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: August 28, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT
A previous version of this story said Rep. Steve Scalise was 51. He is 57.
Washington desk
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