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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee diagnosed with pancreatic cancer


(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, has announced she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“My doctors have confirmed my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer,” Rep. Jackson Lee, 74, said in a statement Sunday night. “I am currently undergoing treatment to battle this disease that impacts tens of thousands of Americans every year.”

Due to her upcoming treatments, Jackson Lee said she could occasionally miss legislative votes but she is “committed” to working with House Speaker Mike Johnson and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on legislation that is “critical for the prosperity and security of the American people.”

“I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease,” Jackson Lee said in her statement. “The road ahead will not be easy, but I stand in faith that God will strengthen me.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, non-Hispanic Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is the 10th most common form of the disease, which only impacts 1.7% of people in their lifetime.

The average age of diagnosis is 70.

Jackson Lee, who represents Texas’ 18th District, which encompasses parts of Houston, recently won a primary election to regain her seat. This comes after Jackson Lee lost her bid to be the city’s mayor late last year.

A member of the Congressional Black Caucus, she has served in Congress for roughly 30 years. Most recently, Jackson Lee reintroduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in May.

Jackson Lee serves on the House’s Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.

She is also an advocate for public education who called for the education department’s Office for Civil Rights to conduct a Title VI investigation into last year’s takeover of Houston’s Independent School District.

The congresswoman suggested that overhauling the nation’s eighth-largest district could be based on race and reverberate around the country.

“This is not helping our families,” Jackson Lee told ABC News in March after hearing that Houston public school teachers were quitting. “It’s not helping our children. That’s our number one priority, so I’m going to work with them until the very end until we are successful in bringing back an elected board and the governance that has the input of our parents and our teachers so they can do what is best for our children’s well being,” she added.

More than 80% of HISD students are Black and Hispanic, according to school district data. Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

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