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Dayton announces prostate cancer diagnosis

The governor learned of his condition last week and is considering treatment options.

Gov. Mark Dayton will be heading to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester next week to look into treatment options.
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach

Gov. Mark Dayton, who released his budget Tuesday, a day after he fainted during his state of the state address, told reporters he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Dayton said he went in for a biopsy at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester last Wednesday and was diagnosed with cancer two days later. Doctors told the two-term governor that his cancer has not spread to other parts of the body and is treatable. Dayton turns 70 on Thursday.

He is going to Rochester next week to look into treatment options, which he said could be surgery or radiation. Dayton said he had planned to disclose his cancer diagnosis to the public after he got more information on his treatment, but the fainting episode brought questions of his health to the forefront.

When asked if he was still fit to serve as governor of Minnesota, Dayton replied: “I think I am,” adding that if he isn’t, “I won’t continue.”

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Dayton also said he’s heading down to the Mayo Clinic tonight for a more thorough checkup after he collapsed during his state of the state address Monday evening. He had a short checkup at the residence after he collapsed, but his physician heard about his fall on Twitter and called him up to suggest a visit.

The governor, who usually travels with a cane, has had two spinal surgeries in the last two years and fainted at a political event last January. He also suffers from back and hip pain. He’s had several checkups since his stay in the hospital last year, but no other hospitalizations, he said.

Dayton repeatedly insisted that he’s still up to doing the job. As he often does, Dayton cracked jokes throughout the press conference.

“When I had hip surgery I said, ‘There are no brain cells in the hip,’” Dayton said. “As far as I know, there are no brain cells in the prostate.”