WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney was diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer and underwent successful surgical treatment, according to sources close to the former Massachusetts governor who said the issue is not expected to have any bearing on his decision whether to run for US Senate in Utah.
One Romney aide said that he “was diagnosed with slow-growing prostate cancer. The cancer was removed surgically and found not to have spread beyond the prostate.” A second person close to Romney, 70, said the treatment won’t impact any attempt to run for the seat that Senator Orrin Hatch has held for nearly four decades.
“There is nothing health-wise preventing him from running,” the person said.
The person said Romney still had not made up his mind to run for the seat, but he is being encouraged by a variety of friends and supporters in Utah.
The news of Romney’s prostate diagnosis was broken by CNN’s Jake Tapper, who reported that Romney was treated over the summer by Dr. Thomas Ahlering at the University of California Irvine Hospital.
Hatch said last week he would not run for reelection, heightening speculation on Romney, the Republican nominee for president in 2012.
The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee has not made any public statements about whether he plans to run for Senate.
The fact that news of his prostate cancer treatment emerged now could be an indication that Romney will run for office. As a private citizen, there would be no reason for such a personal health disclosure, but political candidates are often expected to reveal health-related news that could have a bearing on voters’ decisions.
Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men, with the average age at the time of diagnosis being 66.
About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. But when discovered early, before it has spread beyond the prostate, as apparently was the case with Romney, the survival rate is nearly 100 percent, according to a database maintained by the National Cancer Institute.
One person close to Romney noted that there are few signs of Romney slowing down: Over the past week he has been in Deer Valley, skiing with his family.Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mviser.