Governor Dayton opens up about prostate cancer

Governor Mark Dayton said he will be meeting with doctors next week to determine a treatment plan for his recently diagnosed prostate cancer. He didn’t plan on going public with the diagnosis this early, but after collapsing during his State of the State address Monday night, he changed his mind.

“In the interest of full disclosure [I will] say that I learned last week—that I had a biopsy—that I do have prostate cancer,” said Dayton. “It’s grim, but it is what it is, and it’s not uncommon.”

Urological surgeon with Allina Health, Peter Sershon, said Dayton’s survivability is extremely high. Sershon is not involved in Dayton’s care but said because Dayton indicated the cancer was discovered through an annual PSA blood test, it should be easy to contain.

“Your risk of dying of prostate cancer drops tremendously if you catch it early,” said Sershon. “He’s going to do well.”

Dayton has had a history of publicized medical problems in the past. Most notably, he’s undergone a series of back surgeries in the last several years.

“He’s already facing problems that would affect his management far worse than managing his prostate cancer so I’m confident that he’s perfectly capable of governing the state while managing his prostate cancer,” said Sershon.

Dayton said his father also had prostate cancer and lived 25 years after diagnosis.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cancer among men, with one in every seven men having prostate cancer in their lifetime.

“The only reason the death rate is so high is because men aren’t getting screened on a regularly basis. The death rate would be far less if men routinely got screened,” said Sershon who hopes Dayton’s openness with his diagnosis encourages other men to get tested.