Civil Rights Icon and Congressman Diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer 

John Lewis, a longtime United States congressman and civil rights leader who helped organized the historic 1963 March on Washington, announced he’s undergoing treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

At 79, Rep. Lewis has been serving Georgia’s 5th district for over 30 years and has made history marching with Martin Luther King Jr.

After decades of fighting for civil rights and for his constituents on Capitol Hill, he is facing his biggest fight yet.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.

More about Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer occurs in the pancreas, an organ that lies behind the lower part of the stomach. The pancreas releases enzymes that help you digest food, as well as hormones that help to manage your blood sugar.

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early. It is usually diagnosed at later stages because patients often don’t show symptoms in early stages. If you have a family history of pancreatic cancer, genetic counseling may be helpful.

To learn more about pancreatic cancer, click here.

Choosing to Fight

Despite a tough prognosis, Rep. Lewis has vowed to not only go on treatment to fight it, but also to return to Congress to continue doing his job.

“While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance,” he said. “So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.”

And reactions and words of support have been pouring in — from Washington, to Hollywood, and beyond.

We wish Congressman Lewis all the best as he prepares to fight another battle in his historic, illustrious life.

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