Health & Wellness

Sen. Michael Bennet Announces Cancer Diagnosis, Still Plans to Run for President

Bennet plans to launch campaign after receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

Senator Michael Bennet isn't letting a cancer diagnosis slow down his ambitions. The Colorado Democrat announced this week he has prostate cancer, but that he still plans to run for President of the United States.

Bennet says he was already laying out a strategy for his campaign, and looking into hiring staff in early primary states when he received his diagnosis. But he says he is optimistic because the cancer was caught early and is treatable. If all goes well, he will announce he is running in the Democratic primary.

Sen. Bennet with his wife and daughters.

" I'm 54," Bennet told The Colorado Independent "That's relatively young. It seemed to make sense to have the prostate removed. I'd be recuperating for 7-10 days and would need some rest after that. The hope is then I'll be cancer-free and able to move on. If I'm not cancer free, then I'd have to make another decision."

Bennet's position isn't without precedent. According to CBS News, Former Secretary of State John Kerry had the same surgery in 2003, before going on to win the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination .

Bennet says he's glad the cancer was caught early, and that the experience has reinforced his views that the United States needs to overhaul its health care system.

"If it was left in me undetected, it could kill me," Bennet said. "It won't because I have insurance and decent medical care. The idea that the richest county in the world hasn't figured out how to have universal health care is beyond embarrassing. It's devastating."

Bennet, considered a political moderate, has served in the Senate since 2009 and was most recently re-elected in 2016. If he ultimately decides to run for President, he will join a sprawling Democratic field of more than a dozen declared candidates.

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