WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — A longtime East Bay politician announced Thursday that he has been battling a chronic form of leukemia.

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) said in a statement that he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia last summer, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that cannot be cured.

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But DeSaulnier said he just completed a successful round of aggressive chemotherapy to manage the illness.

“I feel fortunate that I had a positive response to this treatment, and that neither (the leukemia) nor the treatment impacted my professional work,” he said.

DeSaulnier said that doctors told him that the type of leukemia he had, which is the most common form, would not limit his ability to work.

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“The medical professionals were right; I have been able to go home every weekend, except one, logging over 170,000 miles flown, held 14 town halls, had meetings with thousands of constituents, and maintained a 99.1 percent voting average in my first session of Congress,” he said.

DeSaulnier’s local political career began when he was elected to the Concord City Council in 1991. He went on to serve as a Contra Costa County supervisor and has been elected to various roles since.

He was elected to represent the state’s 11th Congressional District – comprised of Concord, El Cerrito, Orinda, Pittsburg, Richmond and other portions of Contra Costa County – in 2015.

In concluding his statement Thursday, DeSaulnier said he looks forward “to continuing to serve the people of our district, and do so stronger and with a better understanding having faced this experience.”

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