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Former Sen. Norm Coleman Reveals He Has Cancer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman says he has throat cancer.

He made the announcement on Facebook on Monday morning.

"After experiencing a prolonged sore throat, I recently noticed a lump on my neck," Coleman wrote. "My doctor ordered an immediate biopsy which confirmed the cancer."

Coleman says he's meeting with doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester as well as in the Twin Cities, and that the prognosis is extremely positive.

Dr. Michelle Naylor, who treats cancer patients at Ear, Nose and Throat SpecialtyCare in Minneapolis, says Coleman's cancer -- oropharyngeal cancer -- is in the back of his throat.

"It's the part you can see when you look in the mirror," she said.

She said the signs of oropharyngeal cancer are a sore throat, nagging ear pain and lumps on the neck.

"A lot of patients actually come in with just an asymptomatic neck mass, something that pops up and does not go away," Naylor said.

Patients often have a history of smoking or drinking.

There are various forms of treatment, including surgery followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy.

"This is a very treatable cancer," Naylor said. "In most people, there is a greater than 65 percent chance of even [those with] advanced disease being alive and even disease-free five years from diagnosis."

In his statement, Coleman made a plea to readers.

"One last word from someone who has cancer. Especially for those of you who have found a lump, a bump or something else that doesn't seem quite right in your body. Go to your doctor. Have it checked out. Don't delay," he stated.

Naylor agrees.

"I think that is absolutely right," she said. "Nobody knows your body better than you do. And if you are innocently washing up in the morning, and find a bump that hasn't ever been there to have it looked at."

The former senator is now 66 years old and lives in Washington D.C., where he works as a lobbyist.

Coleman does travel back to Minnesota on the weekends. He's expected to have surgery in the next week.

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