Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Reveals Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis: 'The Road Ahead Will Not Be Easy'

The Texas Democrat, who lost her bid for Houston mayor in December, is a breast cancer survivor with three decades of congressional experience

<p>Joshua Roberts/Getty </p> Sheila Jackson Lee

Joshua Roberts/Getty

Sheila Jackson Lee

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee revealed that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Sunday, June 2.

Jackson Lee, 74, released a statement announcing her medical diagnosis and warning her constituents that she will miss some days of work as she undergoes treatment.

"My doctors have confirmed my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I am currently undergoing treatment to battle this disease that impacts tens of thousands of Americans every year," the Democratic congresswoman wrote in a statement.

"I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease," she continued, noting that "the road ahead will not be easy."

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<p>Jemal Countess/Getty</p> Sheila Jackson Lee

Jemal Countess/Getty

Sheila Jackson Lee

Jackson Lee, who represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, told her constituents that it’s been an "honor" to serve them throughout her 30-year tenure and warned them of her potential upcoming absence.

"As I pursue my treatments, it is likely that I will be occasionally absent from Congress, but rest assured my office will continue to deliver the vital constituent services that you deserve and expect," she expressed.

Jackson Lee shared that she is working with congressional leadership to ensure that she can continue to "serve this nation and be present for votes on legislation that is critical for the prosperity and security of the American people."

"By God’s grace, I will be back to full strength soon," she added.

Related: Congressman Donald Payne Jr. Dead at 65: 'A Steadfast Champion for the People of New Jersey'

In 2012, Jackson Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer, later announcing that she was cancer-free after undergoing treatment.

“I look forward to having many more years to enjoy my family, friends and to serve our community and nation. I now intend to be an even more vigorous advocate and supporter for cancer research and improved care," she wrote at the time, according to Politico.

Related: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise Diagnosed with 'Very Treatable’ Blood Cancer

<p>Anna Moneymaker/Getty</p> Sheila Jackson Lee

Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Sheila Jackson Lee

While running for mayor of Houston in 2023, Jackson Lee was embroiled in controversy after a recording leaked of her berating a staff member using vulgar language.

"To anyone who has listened to this recording with concern, I am regretful and hope you will judge me not by something trotted out by a political opponent, that worked to exploit this, and backed by extreme Republican supporters on the very day that polls open but from what I've delivered to Houstonians over my years of public service," the congresswoman wrote in a statement addressing the scandal.

Ultimately, Jackson Lee was defeated by Democratic state Sen. John Whitmire.

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Jackson Lee joined Congress nearly 30 years ago, in 1995, and has consistently tackled LGBTQ+ rights and racial issues throughout her tenure. Last month, the senior House member reintroduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2024 to reduce deaths related to police violence.

"This bill will finally hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct and separate them from the majority of those endowed with the ethic of just and equitable public safety. It will also improve training, practices, and transparency to rebuild the broken trust of the communities they serve," she said in a statement.

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