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Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis announces he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) presents Smithsonian Magazine’s first annual American Ingenuity Award for social progress on November 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for Smithsonian Magazine)

Civil rights icon and US Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, his office announced Sunday.

Lewis, 79, will undergo treatment for it, his office said.

“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,” Lewis said in a statement.

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

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

The long-serving Democrat has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes much of Atlanta, since first being elected in 1986.

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