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Scalise being treated for blood cancer, plans to keep working

Multiple myeloma has no cure but can be managed for many years

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during a March 30 news conference after the House passed an energy bill.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during a March 30 news conference after the House passed an energy bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer that affects the bone marrow, and has begun treatment.

The treatment is expected to take several months. Scalise, R-La., intends to return to Washington and work while he is being treated, he said in a statement released by his office and posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done. The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer,” Scalise said.

Scalise was first elected in 2008 and rose quickly through the Republican ranks in the House, serving as leader of the Republican Study Committee and as majority and minority whip before becoming majority leader this Congress.

In June 2017, Scalise was almost killed when a gunman opened fire on a House Republican baseball practice at a field in Alexandria, Va., the day before the annual congressional baseball game.

The shooting left Scalise in critical condition, though he was able to return to Congress in September 2017.

Multiple myeloma is a rare form of blood cancer with no cure. Treatments exist that can help people manage the disease for many years, and drug companies are currently working on new treatment options.

“I am incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable,” Scalise said in the statement. “I am thankful for my excellent medical team, and with the help of God, support of my family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges.”

House Republicans have a narrow majority and a long list of must-pass legislation when they return from recess in September, including appropriations bills to keep the government operating after the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The conservative House Freedom Caucus, meanwhile, has threatened a government shutdown.

Jessie Hellmann contributed to this report.

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