NDP leader Jack Layton to seek treatment for prostate cancer

Jack Layton says he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will stay on as leader of the federal NDP while he’s being treated.

Federal NDP leader Jack Layton answers a reporter's question at an NDP Halifax West riding nomination meeting in Rockingham

Federal NDP leader Jack Layton answers a reporter's question at an NDP Halifax West riding nomination meeting in Rockingham

TORONTO — Jack Layton says he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will stay on as leader of the federal NDP while he’s being treated.

Layton says he intends to battle the disease and win, just as his father did.

“I want to ensure that my constituents know that I will be carrying on as a member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth and as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada,” Layton told a news conference in Toronto.

“It’s the same kind of prostate cancer that my dad was diagnosed with 17 years ago.

“Like my dad, I am a fighter. And I’m going to beat this.”

Layton said his treatment plan is underway and he’s feeling good, and joked that could give him more time to watch the Winter Olympics.

Layton has represented the riding of Toronto-Danforth since 2004. He just celebrated his seventh anniversary as leader.

“Without question we have accomplished a lot, but there’s a lot more to do. We recognize that there’s still work ahead of us to build that caring and green Canada that we believe in,” Layton said.

“And I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves on Monday morning and get started.”

A party spokesman said Layton was diagnosed during a routine checkup in December but did not provide details on the type of prostate cancer.

Layton will be treated in Toronto, but the type of treatment will remain between him and his doctor, the spokesman said.

Layton told the NDP caucus earlier Friday.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that, in 2009, 25,500 new cases of prostate cancer would have been diagnosed and 4,400 Canadian men would have died from it. It is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the country, with lung cancer second and breast cancer third.

Notable politicians who have battled prostate cancer include former Liberal cabinet minister Allan Rock, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired U.S. Senator Bob Dole.

The Canadian Cancer Society website says prostate cancer, which starts in the cells of the prostate gland, usually grows slowly and can often be cured or managed successfully.

The prostate, about the size of a large walnut, is part of the male reproductive system and is located close to the rectum just below the bladder at the base of the penis. Its main function is to make part of the liquid that mixes with sperm from the testicles to make semen.

The society says one in seven men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime, with the risk being highest after age 60, and one in 27 will die of it.

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