WASHINGTON --Rep. Scott DesJarlais has cancer and will undergo extensive therapy beginning next week, the congressman announced Friday.
But doctors feel like they have caught it in plenty of time, the congressman said in an interview.
The cancer is in his neck, DesJarlais said, declining to give additional details.
DesJarlais, R-Jasper, had a biopsy Monday and learned the results Wednesday night. He was back in Tennessee on Thursday undergoing more tests.
"It's not the news you want to get, but the good news is it's very treatable, very curable," the 50-year-old House member said, adding that doctors have told him there is a 90 percent cure rate.
Most of his radiation and chemotherapy will come during the August congressional recess, said DesJarlais, who is a physician.
Treatments will begin next week in Chattanooga. DesJarlais declined to name the facility, saying he wanted to protect both his own privacy and those of other patients.
But constituents should know he may miss some House votes in the second half of July, he said.
Despite their optimism, doctors felt it was essential that he begin treatments immediately.
DesJarlais, 50, said he will also continue his campaign to be re-elected to a third term.
The Tennessee Republican primary is Aug. 7. DesJarlais is in a heated race with state Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville.
In his re-election bid, DesJarlais has had to overcome an onslaught of negative publicity he received in late 2012 about past relationships, when a transcript of his 2001 divorce was released.
DesJarlais was part of the tea party wave of Republicans elected in 2010 and sits on three House committees - Oversight and Government Reform, Education and the Workforce and Agriculture.