U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, shown in this file photo before his successful battle with neck cancer, says he will keep his head shaved for an indefinite period of time as a show of solidarity with other cancer survivors. Bishop said Thursday he had been declared cancer-free following chemo and surgery. (Albany Herald file photo)
WASHINGTON — In a statement issued by his office Thursday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Albany, said that he was cancer free following chemotherapy and late November surgery.
Bishop was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer last September and said he began to undergo intensive chemotherapy that ended on Nov. 4. The treatment was “designed to dissolve and kill the cancer cells so that the surgery to follow would require the removal of significantly less tissue from my neck and throat,” Bishop said, adding that doctors determined the disease was limited to his neck.
“During this process, thanks to great cooperation among my medical team at the Attending Physician’s Office at the Capitol, the George Washington University Hospital medical team in Washington, and our great Congressional staff, this was accomplished without my having to miss a single vote or major event during this phase of my treatment,” he said. “In fact, The Congressional Military Family Summit, a major event hosted by our Congressional office at The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center in Columbus, Georgia on November 6th, went forward with my full participation and was without question one of the best events we have produced.”
To reduce downtime from the Capitol, Bishop said he scheduled his surgery for Nov. 26, when the U.S. House was in recess for the Thanksgiving holidays. Dr. Nader Sadeghi, professor of surgery and director of head and neck Surgery at George Washington University Hospital, performed the more than eight-hour surgery.
“He removed the primary tumor from the back of my mouth and removed 91 lymph nodes from both sides of my neck,” Bishop said. “The surgery was successful and without any complications and four days later I was discharged from the hospital to recuperate at home. I missed only two weeks of votes in the House of Representatives, the final two weeks before adjournment in December.
“Analysis of the tissue removed during surgery revealed that the chemotherapy had successfully destroyed the cancer cells and that I am now cancer free with no need for further treatment! Only periodic monitoring on a declining basis over the next five years will be required. To God be the glory!”
While he’s back at work, Bishop said he will retain one mark of the health challenge. “I will continue to wear my hair bald for an indefinite period as an expression of solidarity with cancer patients and survivors with whom I have shared a mutual chemotherapy experience,” he said, adding he plans to represent Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District for “many years to come.”
Bishop said he and his wife, Vivian, wanted to thank those who prayed for and supported them during the illness.