- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2000

NEW YORK Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced Thursday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will decide in the next two or three weeks whether he will seek the U.S. Senate seat from New York.

The Republican mayor, 55, said his condition is "a treatable form of prostate cancer diagnosed at an early stage."

Asked repeatedly if the diagnosis would torpedo his planned race for the Senate against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Giuliani said: "I have no idea."

"In fairness to me, to the Senate race, to the Republican Party, to all the parties and everybody else, you need some time to think about it, and I need to know the course of treatment before I can evaluate it," he said. "The answer is … I don't know the answer to that yet."

A decision to run or withdraw will depend on the course of his medical treatment. This could include hormone therapy, seed implants, radiation, chemotherapy or surgery.

Mr. Giuliani said there is no reason to have emergency treatment, but he does not want to postpone the necessary medical care.

"My focus right now has to be how to figure out the best form of treatment," he told a hushed crowd of reporters at a morning news conference in the Blue Room at City Hall. "And then, after I decide that and get awhile to absorb this to figure out should I [run], would I be able to do it the right way I hope that's the case. It may not. It may be."

The cancer, he said, is "contained within the prostate" and appears to be of a variety that doctors have had much success in curing.

Mr. Giuliani underwent a routine blood test 2 and 1/2 weeks ago that indicated an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. He took antibiotics for a while, took the test again, but the PSA still registered high.

He underwent a biopsy Wednesday at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital in Manhattan. He said his doctor telephoned him to say that several of the samples indicated cancer.

"I kind of expected it. The PSA was high twice, so I started thinking about how I would handle it if it was bad. And if it were good, I'd say, 'Fine.' "

The mayor said that he would have preferred to reveal his condition after he had begun medical treatment, but that option disappeared Wednesday when he was spotted entering Mount Sinai Hospital. The sighting was reported in the New York Post Thursday morning.

Mr. Giuliani said he would make his physician available to the media once he has settled on a course of treatment. The mayor said he expects to take some time off from his job, "but not for months and months."

Bruce Teitelbaum, the mayor's campaign manager, said the travel schedule will go ahead as planned.

Thursday night, he was expected to attend a town hall meeting in Queens. Mr. Giuliani is slated to begin an upstate swing Friday in Saratoga, ending with a nationally televised town hall meeting in Rochester on Wednesday.

The mayor informed most of his advisers about his condition at the daily 8 a.m. staff meeting. City Hall went into shock.

Mr. Giuliani's father, Harold, died of prostate cancer 19 years ago at age 73.

"I miss my father every day of my life," said the mayor, his voice turning husky. "He's a very, very important reason for why I'm standing here."

Although the disease is not considered hereditary, a genetic link is widely suspected to exist.

Messages of encouragement poured in from friend and foe alike.

George Steinbrenner, principal owner of the New York Yankees and a mayoral pal, called with good wishes, and Mr. Giuliani was expecting to talk to Yankees manager Joe Torre, who recovered successfully from the removal of his prostate last spring.

Mrs. Clinton reportedly called the mayor to wish him well and her campaign office released a statement saying: "Like all New Yorkers, my prayers and best wishes are with the mayor for a full and speedy recovery, and I hope that everyone joins me in wishing him well."

The phrase "like all New Yorkers" nettled some of the mayor's supporters.

Mr. Giuliani's wife, Donna Hanover, who leads a controversial and independent life apart from the mayor, was not at her husband's side. A spokesman said she was optimistic about her husband's prognosis and would be "very supportive."

Republican Gov. George E. Pataki, who has battled with the mayor over numerous issues, said in a statement: "Rudy Giuliani is a fighter and a winner. I know he will beat this."

Television and radio newscasts ran interviews with New Yorkers, many of whom said the mayor's natural toughness will see him through this ordeal.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a severe Giuliani critic, buried the hatchet to say that he hoped the mayor would do "what is best for his health and his family."

Former Mayor Edward I. Koch, who is supporting Mrs. Clinton, said the mayor's illness should inhibit neither his bid for the Senate, nor his ability to perform as a senator.

"I had a major stroke in '87, a heart attack in '99, and within the last month had an operation for an enlarged prostate condition," he said. "But I've recovered fully and am working at nine jobs. Rudy can do the same."

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