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U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee says she’s being treated for pancreatic cancer

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, speaks at her victory party on March 5, 2024 in Houston. 
Mark Felix
The Texas Tribune
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, speaks at her victory party on March 5, 2024 in Houston. 

U.S. Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, the congresswoman shared in a Sunday statement on social media platform X.

“My doctors have confirmed my diagnosis for pancreatic cancer,” Jackson Lee said. “I am currently undergoing treatment to battle this disease that impacts tens of thousands of Americans every year.”

Jackson Lee, 74, represents Congressional District 18, a seat she has held for 30 years. In March, she defeated challenger Amanda Edwards, a former Houston City Councilwoman, in the most competitive primary of her congressional career. Prior to the March primary, Jackson Lee had only drawn four primary challengers, and she defeated all of them by significant margins. She’s been in Congress since 1995.

In her statement, Jackson Lee said she will “likely be occasionally absent from Congress” as she undergoes treatment but that she plans to continue to serve her constituents with the services they “deserve and expect.”

“I am committed to working with our Congressional Leadership including Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the Speaker of House to serve this nation and be present for votes on legislation that is critical for the prosperity and security of the American people,” the statement said.

Jackson Lee previously battled breast cancer. In 2012, she announced that she was cancer free after having been diagnosed the previous year.

“I look forward to having many more years to enjoy my family, friends and to serve our community and nation,” she said at the time.

Jackson Lee was born in Queens, New York and she served as a judge before she was elected to an at-large Houston City Council seat in 1989. She has since become a household name in Houston, the largest city in Texas and the fourth most populous in the country.

Last year, Jackson Lee ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of Houston. She lost by a wide margin to then state Sen. John Whitmire and then promptly announced that she would seek reelection in Congress.

Jackson Lee received an outpouring of support on X following her evening announcement.

“Some things are bigger than politics,” read a post from the Harris County GOP. “Please join us in praying for Congresswoman Jackson Lee and her loved ones during this difficult time, as we wish her a speedy recovery.”

It is not currently clear where Jackson Lee is being treated.

"I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease," she said. :"The road ahead will not be easy, but I stand in faith that God will strengthen me."

Copyright 2024 KERA

Pooja Salhotra | The Texas Tribune