Representative John Lewis will be treated for pancreatic cancer

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Representative John Lewis, an imposing icon of the civil rights movement, announced Sunday that he will begin receiving treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The 79-year-old said he was diagnosed during a "routine medical visit and subsequent tests."

"Although I have a clear eye on 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 were before, and that I have a chance to fight, "Lewis said in a statement.

An oncologist agreed that there are now better treatments available for the disease, often fatal.

"Pancreatic cancer is a cancer that is often" silent. "The symptoms can be subtle and routine blood tests can trigger an alarm," said Dr. Sanjay Reddy, an assistant professor in the department of surgical oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

"In the case of Representative John Lewis, it was on a routine visit, according to the report, that his condition was discovered," Reddy said in a statement. "One of the most important things to understand is that there are treatment options available. Even for those fighting stage 4 cancer … Through family support, medical advances and self-determination, we can control this disease and provide a Good life quality ".

Lewis, a Democrat who has served in the 5th Georgia Congressional District since 1987, referred to the various battles he has faced throughout his career.

"I have been in some kind of struggle, for freedom, equality, basic human rights, for most of my life. I have never faced a fight like the one I have now," he said.

After his announcement, there was a lot of support for him online, including a tweet from former President Barack Obama.

"If there is something I love about @RepJohnLewis, it is his incomparable will to fight," Obama said. "I know he has much more of that left. Praying for you, my friend."

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