Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, following a fainting spell the night before during his State of the State address.
The governor said he is set to undergo testing to determine the proper course of treatment, which may include radiation or surgery to remove a tumor. But, he said, preliminary tests have not shown any evidence that the cancer has spread.
“I don’t expect it to impede my performance or responsibilities,” he said during an afternoon news conference.
Aides caught him as he fell, and legislators immediately adjourned the meeting at the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul. Dayton, 69, was not injured and appeared to sit upright shortly after passing out. He quickly recovered, walked out of the capitol on his own and returned home, the governor’s chief of staff said in a statement.
Dayton was acting normally within 20 minutes of the collapse and was poking fun at himself, state Sen. Dan Schoen said, according to The Associated Press. Dayton’s son, Eric Dayton, said in a tweet that his father was “doing great.” He later tweeted a photo of his father and Dayton’s grandson, Hugo, making an “advanced puzzle” together, adding “that must be a good sign!”
“Governor Dayton and his entire staff thank the people of Minnesota for their outpouring of support and concern,” the statement read.
Dayton had appeared to stumble as he first entered the house chamber, but joked it away, The Associated Press reported. He began to tremble and lose his place in his address about 40 minutes into it, taking sips of water before falling forward.
Late last January, Dayton was hospitalized overnight after fainting at a political event, the Star Tribune reported. A senior adviser said the likely cause was dehydration. He has also undergone a series of back and hip surgeries in recent years, the Associated Press reported.
Before fainting Monday night, Dayton unveiled a broad vision for his final two years in office, calling for targeted “public investments” that include $371 million in additional funding for schools and the creation of a public health-insurance option, the Star Tribune reported. He touted a falling unemployment rate and a projected budget surplus of $1.4 billion, a substantial improvement from the massive budget deficit facing the state six years ago.
He also discussed the need to address a number of problems in the state, including aging roads and bridges, diminished water quality and racial disparities. Dayton faces pressures from the now Republican-controlled legislature to make broad health care changes and offset massive premium hikes.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Samantha Schmidt