Gov. Mark Dayton will undergo surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester to remove his prostate following a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer, he announced Tuesday.
“I have decided upon surgery to remove my prostate and, hopefully, all of the cancer,” Dayton wrote on his Facebook page. He said the surgery is scheduled for March 2.
Dayton’s doctors said his cancer, which they diagnosed last month, was detected early and has not spread beyond his prostate.
In a follow-up consultation last week, Dayton discussed treatment options that included surgery or radiation therapy. The DFL governor, who just turned 70, mulled his options over the weekend before posting his decision on Tuesday morning.
Common in men of Dayton’s age, prostate cancer has high survivability rates. Dayton said that his surgery will require one overnight stay at Mayo but he said he planned to be in constant communication with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and his senior staff while he recovers.
Dayton in his Facebook post expressed gratitude at the outpouring of support.
“Many friends and strangers have shared with me their experiences dealing with prostate cancer,” he wrote. “You have lifted my spirits and given me both hope and resolve. I am deeply grateful to you.”
Dayton’s deputy chief of staff, Linden Zakula, said in a statement that Dayton expects to take only a few days to recover from his planned surgery, adding that the governor will be under general anesthesia for about two hours. Zakula said Dayton expects to resume his usual schedule beginning Monday, March 6.
Dayton’s health has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after his highly public fainting episode last month during his State of the State speech in the Minnesota House chamber. It was a televised collapse in front of the entire House and Senate, drawing national headlines and an outpouring of concern for the DFL governor.
The next day, Dayton revealed his cancer diagnosis and Mayo Clinic also issued a statement saying the fainting “was situational and related to standing for a long time while giving his speech and possible dehydration.”
Dayton has kept his usual schedule, eager to show Minnesotans he is still physically capable of carrying out the daily rigors of his job, among the most demanding in state government.
Several other governors, business executives and public figures have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, including Warren Buffett, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Dayton’s own father, who died at age 97, more than two decades after his diagnosis.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, eight years Dayton’s senior, sought radiation treatment for prostate cancer at age 74 in early 2013. The timing and circumstances were nearly identical. Like Dayton, Brown’s cancer news came as he prepared to roll out his budget proposal and deliver a State of the State address.