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Gov. Dayton To Undergo Surgery For Prostate Cancer Next Month

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Mark Dayton says he will undergo surgery next month to treat his prostate cancer. The governor met with Mayo Clinic doctors last week, who told him the cancer was caught early and hasn't spread.

He says he'll likely spend one night in the hospital and will continue to govern during his recovery.

"Many friends and strangers have shared with me their experiences dealing with prostate cancer," the governor posted Tuesday on his personal Facebook page. "You have lifted my spirits and given me both hope and resolve. I am deeply grateful to you."

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers for men. One in seven will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Many will also be faced with the same choice the governor had: whether to treat the cancer with radiation or surgery.

In the aftermath of his cancer diagnosis, the governor has been upbeat. Just days after announcing the diagnosis, he told WCCO that he feels "totally capable of doing this job to the best of my ability and I intend to do so as long as I am capable of doing that."

The governor wrote on Facebook that he will undergo surgery on March 2 at the Mayo clinic in Rochester. He said last week he expects to get back to work immediately.

"I expect very quickly -- in a matter of hours -- to be able to resume my normal duties and responsibilities," he told WCCO.

Dr. Kendall Feia, who performs prostate surgeries at Hennepin County Medical Center, says a full recovery can take up to six weeks, less if the surgery is done with a less invasive robotic procedure.

"I tell my patients God put the prostate in a spot where it wasn't meant to come out easily, so it's got a lot of attachments and it's near a lot of things that are important to every man," Feia said.

Feia, who is not involved with the governor's care, says the surgery itself takes an average of four hours. Dayton is choosing surgery over radiation, which has its own downsides.

"[Radiation is] usually about 42 treatments for radiation for seven weeks," Feia said. "You have to come in for treatments essentially every day."

The governor, whose cancer was caught early, says doctors are optimistic.

"I think I will have an excellent final outcome," Dayton said.

Outcomes for prostate cancers that are caught early and have not spread beyond the prostate are excellent. The five-year survival rate is almost 99 percent.

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