Longtime Maryland State Senate President Being Treated for Prostate Cancer

Mike Miller, 76, is scheduled to discuss his cancer diagnosis with members of the Senate at 10 a.m. Thursday when the chamber next meets.

By Luke Broadwater and Pamela Wood

Longtime Maryland state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, according to two sources.

Miller, 76, is scheduled to discuss his cancer diagnosis with members of the Senate at 10 a.m. Thursday when the chamber next meets. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because Miller had not yet made his announcement.

A spokesman for Miller declined to discuss details of his health problems Wednesday.

"Mike's known for a little while," one source said. "He's been getting treatment. ... He's upbeat and doing good."

One source said Miller, a Democrat, isn't expected to miss much time during the session while he undergoes treatment.

"I think you're going to see him almost every day if not every day," the source said. "Prostate cancer is always serious, but these days there's a lot you can do about it."

Along with Miller's re-election Wednesday as president of the Senate, colleague Kathy Klausmeier of Baltimore County was chosen as president pro-tem, a position that involves substituting for the president when he is absent from the chamber.

"These guys are the band. If they want me to step down, I'll step down," Miller said.

The survival rate for prostate cancer changes dramatically depending upon how quickly the disease is discovered. If caught early, very few die from the disease, but the survival rate for advanced prostate cancer is just 29 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Miller's announcement is expected to come after he appeared using a cane on the first day of Maryland General Assembly session and said he has hip and knee problems.

"People have been wondering about my health. I've got a cane. I've got a bad hip. I've got a bad knee," Miller told reporters after Wednesday's Senate session.

Miller said he would talk more Thursday about his health.

"As long as I'm healthy, I'm going to be here. I'm going to stay here until the band stops playing," he said.

Miller stayed home Tuesday -- a busy day leading up to the start of the session -- with what his aides said was an illness. That meant he didn't speak, as scheduled, at a lunch with Democratic delegates and senators.

At other times in the past few years, Miller used a cane around the State House complex. Miller raised his cane in the air Wednesday and joked he planned to use it against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's administration.

Miller also used his personal issues to talk about policy.

"As at the age where I'm at the pharmacy every other day myself, I know what the cost of drugs are. ... I'm going to try to resolve these issues; they're very costly issues," he said.

An attorney, Miller was first elected in 1970 to the House of Delegates. He moved to the Senate in 1974.

Miller's counterpart in the House, Speaker Michael Busch, has faced his own health challenges. Busch, 72, had heart bypass surgery last September. And in 2017, Busch received a liver donation from his sister after being diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Hogan also has overcome a serious health problem. Months after taking office in 2015, Hogan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. After treatment, he was declared cancer-free.

While speaking Wednesday in the House of Delegates, Hogan referred to the health problems he and Busch have endured, acknowledging that they are both "graduates" of the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore.

The Daily Record first reported Miller's diagnosis.

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