OLYMPIA – Secretary of State Sam Reed has been diagnosed with kidney cancer and will undergo surgery at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle on Monday. He is expected to make a full recovery and will return to work after a brief recuperation.
Reed, 69, is in his third term as Washington’s 14th secretary of state and is the senior Republican statewide elected official. He is second in line of succession to the governor.
“Thanks to early detection and diagnosis, my doctors say my prognosis for successful surgery and recovery is excellent,” Reed said. “I’ve always been extremely active and placed a high priority on physical fitness, so that will pay dividends now. I am surrounded by loving family and friends, caring colleagues throughout the Office of Secretary of State, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
“Little did I know when I was state fundraising chair for the American Cancer Society that someday it would hit so close to home. But I am thankful for the advances in research and treatment, and for the support systems we have in this country. Today, thankfully, we speak openly of cancer and treatment and surviving and thriving – and I intend to be open about my illness, and what I believe will be my journey back to full health. I will be encouraging everyone to have regular checkups and to be watchful for signs of potential health problems. Early detection can literally save your life.
“I will weather this health challenge just like so many brave Washingtonians have done, encouraged by the thoughts and prayers of everyone.”
Doctors found a cancerous tumor in his left kidney during diagnostic tests for unrelated abdominal pains that subsequently cleared up. A scan showed that the cancer is confined to the kidney and has not spread to other organs. Surgeons will remove the kidney laparoscopically, a minimally invasive procedure involving small incisions. Radiation and chemotherapy will not be required. The hospital stay is typically two or three days, followed by a week or two of home rest.
“The cancer is absolutely curable, and I really lucked out in terms of early detection,” the Secretary said.
“My favorite reaction from family members to my news is that a cousin’s husband told me ‘If you need another kidney, let me know. I have an old spare one that seems to work pretty well and hasn’t been polluted with partisan politicos beating on it!’”
He said Governor Chris Gregoire, herself a cancer survivor, is being quite supportive.