84°F
weather icon Clear

Ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has surgery for pancreatic tumor

Updated May 14, 2018 - 12:42 pm

WASHINGTON — Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his pancreas and will undergo chemotherapy treatment, according to a statement released by his family on Monday.

Reid, 78, a Democrat who was the longest serving U.S. senator in Nevada history, was recovering at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore.

Doctors discovered the “the problem early during a routine screening,” the family statement read.

“His surgeons are confident that the surgery was a success and that the prognosis for recovery is good,” the statement read. “He is now out of surgery, in good spirits and resting with his family.”

Though many news outlets reported the tumor was cancerous, the family statement did not state that Reid had been diagnosed with cancer.

But Dr. Navneet Sharda, medical director at the Cancer Care Center in Las Vegas, said the fact that Reid’s doctors are planning chemotherapy indicates it is almost certainly cancer.

Difficult to detect in early stages

Sharda said that pancreatic cancer is largely asymptomatic and difficult to detect in its early stages. In later stages, symptoms of a pancreatic tumor can include weight loss, diabetes and sudden difficulty with digestion. In some cases, a tumor on the head of the pancreas will obstruct the flow of bile, causing jaundice, Sharda said.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Cancer Society estimated that about 55,400 new cases and 44,300 deaths from the disease were expected in 2018.

Treatment usually involves some combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Sharda said. Though doctors won’t prescribe nutritional therapy alone, they may recommend high doses of juicing, herbal supplements and oral antioxidants.

“Pancreatic cancer treatment is not very well developed,” he said. “So we’re looking at all options.”

When diagnosed early, though, the survival rates can be high, Sharda said.

“(Reid) is fortunate,” Sharda said. “He’s unfortunate in that he has pancreatic cancer, but he’s fortunate that it was found early.”

Reid served as a Democratic senator from Nevada from 1987 to 2017. He served as Senate majority leader from 2005 to 2015.

Good wishes from allies, rivals

Well-wishes poured in from both sides of the aisle.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who succeeded Reid as Democratic leader, said on Twitter that he had spoken with the family and that Reid’s operation “went well.”

“We are all praying for dear Harry’s speedy recovery,” Schumer said in a Tweet.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, also sent Reid his best wishes in a Tweet.

“From one cantankerous senator to another, sending my prayers & best wishes to @SenatorReid as he recovers from a successful surgery,” he said.

Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval called Reid “a fighter,” and said his thoughts and prayers were with Reid and his family.

Rep. Mark Amodei used similar language, adding, “but I’m certain he’s up for the challenge.”

Reid has had a colorful life and career. Raised in the hardscrabble mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, he was a boxer who eloped with his wife after her parents disapproved of their relationship.

He worked as a Capitol Hill policeman and earned a law degree before being elected to the House of Representatives, and then the Senate in 1987.

He stepped down from the Senate in 2017. He was succeeded by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat whom Reid supported in the race to replace him.

Cortez Masto issued a statement saying “Senator Reid is no stranger to a fight.”

“He beat his opponents in the boxing ring, took on the mob in Nevada, and moved bills in the Senate that one one believed could be one,” Cortez Masto said.

“He’ll beat cancer too. I wish him a speedy and successful recovery,” Cortez Masto said.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Jessie Bekker contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
THE LATEST
HHS says abortion restrictions effective immediately

Planned Parenthood and other family-planning providers are suing the Trump administration to overturn the regulations.

Epstein accusers urge judge to keep him in jail until trial

Financier Jeffrey Epstein will remain behind bars for now as a federal judge mulls whether to grant bail on charges he sexually abused underage girls.