Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, says she has pancreatic cancer

HOUSTON (AP) — Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is undergoing treatment.

The 74-year-old Texas Democrat, who is seeking a 16th term, said in a statement late Sunday that as a member of Congress, she has been honored to be a leader in the fight for justice and equality and will approach this more personal fight with faith and courage.

“I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease,” Jackson Lee said. “The road ahead will not be easy, but I stand in faith that God will strengthen me.”

Jackson Lee said that it’s likely that she will be absent from Congress occasionally as she pursues treatment, but that her office will continue to serve constituents. She said she is committed to working with congressional leadership to be present for votes.

Jackson Lee first took office in 1995 and won the Democratic nomination in March, just months after losing a bid to become Houston’s mayor. She had sought to be the first Black female mayor of the nation’s fourth-largest city. Jackson Lee's district includes downtown Houston and some of the city’s historically Black neighborhoods.