Rep. John Lewis diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Support poured in from around the country for Georgia Congressman John Lewis just one day after the civil rights leader announced he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The Atlanta congressman said he learned about his cancer during a routine medical visit earlier this month.

Doctors informed him that his cancer is stage 4. Lewis said he plans to continue serving the 5th Congressional District during his treatment.

[Photos: John Lewis through the years]

Lewis released the following statement:

“I have been in some kind of fight- for freedom, equality, basic human rights - for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.

“This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed.

“While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.

"So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.

"To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime. I will return to Washington in coming days to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks. I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon.

“Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”

Lewis has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1987.

He was among key activists in the civil rights movement, taking part in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, the 1961 Freedom Rides, the 1963 March on Washington and the Bloody Sunday march in 1965, where he was beaten in the skull by a state trooper in Selma, Alabama.

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