After Collapsing During Speech, Minnesota Governor Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

by | January 24, 2017

By Ricardo Lopez and Erin Golden

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Dayton revealed his diagnosis at a news conference the morning after he collapsed during his State of the State speech, which cut it short. He told reporters Tuesday morning that his outlook is good but that he expects to know more next week after additional medical tests.

Dayton also said he's headed to the Mayo Clinic later Tuesday for a checkup after his fainting episode, which saw him slump forward and strike his head on a lectern at the front of the House chamber while delivering his speech. But the Democratic governor was back up and walking Tuesday morning, and held a lengthy session with reporters to unveil his 2017-18 budget proposal and to address questions about his health.

"I'll be 70 on Thursday. I feel very blessed to have as healthy of a life as I've had," Dayton said. He said a recent physical revealed a tumor, and that a biopsy last Wednesday confirmed it.

Dayton said he had initially planned to reveal his cancer diagnosis next week after his next scheduled tests. He said he still intends to finish his current term in office, which ends at the beginning of 2018.

"People deserve a governor who is on the job, qualified to perform the job intellectually and physically, and I believe I am," Dayton said.

Dayton has had a history of health issues that have included two spinal surgeries in recent years.

The most recent occurred in December 2015 when Dayton underwent surgery at Mayo Clinic, where he also had a surgery in 2012. The neurosurgeon who operated on him in 2015 said the governor was suffering from spinal stenosis, a common condition akin to arthritis, in which bone spurs that grow on the spine pinch nerves in the area.

The condition frequently leads to weakness and instability in the legs and is often treated with surgery.

(c)2017 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)