ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton is undergoing surgery Thursday to treat a recent prostate cancer diagnosis.
Dayton revealed his diagnosis just a day after he collapsed during his State of the State address last month. His doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester have said the cancer was caught early and is treatable.
The Democratic governor is scheduled for surgery at Mayo Clinic Thursday morning. Dayton expects to spend the night in the hospital but will return to his normal work schedule next week.
Though Dayton hasn't disclosed the exact procedure he'll undergo, Dr. Christopher Weight, a urologic surgeon and professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School says roughly 90 percent of the prostate cancer surgeries are now done using robotics.
"It's one of the most common cancer operations in the United States," Dr. Weight said. "It used to be all done through an open incision, which was about an 8 centimeter incision going from the belly button down to the pubic bone. Now it's usually five or six small incisions about 8 millimeters, which is a little bit smaller than the tip of my finger. Maybe the pinky."
Dr. Weight says that's why it's no surprise to hear the Governor plans to return home Saturday, though he believes any work next week will be limited.
"I would say it would be a little ambitious to do a full schedule that the Governor probably does in a few days," Weight said.
Even so, he says Governor Dayton doesn't have to do anything to continue raising awareness.
"It's come up several times with my patients," Dr. Weight said. "And I think they feel a new kinship with the governor as he is going through his own journey with prostate cancer."
Steven Rocklein has battled prostate cancer for 16 years and has led a support group at the UofM for five. He says the Governor's courage and openness is already helping others.
"Here's another high-profile person acknowledging his cancer. That is so cool," Rocklein said. "That is so affirming to all the rest of the men. Ah, if he has it and he is talking then I can do the same thing."
If you'd like more information on Prostate Cancer support services and group meetings, go to http://www.mnpcc.org.