Massachusetts state Sen. Michael Barrett says he has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer — known as acute promyelocytic leukemia, or APL — and will be hospitalized for roughly a month at Mass. General.
The 69-year-old Lexington Democrat said in a press release Tuesday afternoon that the disease is “highly curable” and that he still plans to run for re-election in the fall.
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, APL is considered “the most curable form of adult leukemia” with survival rates of 90 percent, complete remission rates of 90 percent, and cure rates of 80 percent or higher among low-risk patients.
Barrett says he won’t be allowed to leave the hospital for a month and will have to avoid crowded areas for a period of time after he is released, due to his decreased white blood cell count.
“Unfortunately, my docs will not let me hop out of bed at Mass. General and head up Beacon Hill to vote in a packed chamber,” he said. “But otherwise, with the help of my fantastic staff, I expect to advance my legislative agenda quite effectively throughout my convalescence, and to resume my duties in full thereafter.”
Read his full statement below:
“Late yesterday, doctors at Mass. General Hospital diagnosed me with APL, a rare form of leukemia. Fortunately for me, APL is highly curable. I’ll be hospitalized for roughly 30 days and then receive treatment as an outpatient.
“Throughout, I’ll continue to pursue the legislative and district priorities of my constituents. In terms of politics, for me nothing will change: I’ll be running for re-election in the fall.
“Because the white blood cell counts of APL patients are way below normal, infections such as the flu can have consequences. My doctors tell me I won’t be leaving the hospital for a month and that, for some additional period of time, I’ll need to avoid crowded situations where people may have bad colds, etc.
“This past week, before I had a diagnosis and knew what to call my condition, I kept up contact with people and got work done via laptop, email, and cell phone. Unfortunately, my docs will not let me hop out of bed at Mass. General and head up Beacon Hill to vote in a packed chamber. But otherwise, with the help of my fantastic staff, I expect to advance my legislative agenda quite effectively throughout my convalescence, and to resume my duties in full thereafter.”