TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has had a recurrence of prostate cancer and is undergoing further evaluation and treatment, the conservative Republican's communications director said Tuesday.
Spokesman John Hart said in a brief statement to The Associated Press that the 65-year-old lawmaker will be out for the rest of the week but will be back "as soon as he's able, hopefully next week."
Coburn, a physician from Muskogee who has made a career in Washington highlighting what he sees as excessive government spending and waste, was also treated for prostate cancer in 2011 and returned to work within days, Hart said. He's been treated in past years for a litany of health issues.
He revealed in 2003 that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had undergone surgery and chemotherapy. He told a reporter at the time, "you should be writing about Medicaid and Medicare instead of my health."
Coburn, a former member of the U.S. House who first ran for the Senate in 2004, also was treated for malignant melanoma in 1975, and had a benign tumor removed from his pituitary gland in 2007. He also was tested for an irregular heartbeat in 2008.
Earlier this month, Coburn was among a group of senators who released the findings of a two-year probe into alleged abuses in how Social Security disability benefits were approved at a federal Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in West Virginia.
Coburn's fellow U.S. senator from Oklahoma, Jim Inhofe, underwent emergency quadruple bypass surgery in Tulsa last month. Two of Inhofe's arteries were completely blocked, another was at 90 percent blocked and a fourth was 75 percent blocked.
Inhofe's campaign manager said Tuesday that the 79-year-old senator spent his first day back in Washington on Monday.
"He is over-recovered is the saying his family is using," said Rusty Appleton, Inhofe's campaign manager. "No one is going to chain a U.S. senator to a bed, but he's been released by the doctors and arrived in D.C. (Monday) night."
Inhofe, a conservative Republican, is seeking a fourth term in office next year.